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smac97

Spider-Man Has Left the Church

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Not really.  It's the packaging. 

That's part of it (the "packaging".....which is a one stop read for those searching and that's why it's been very effective).

But it is really the information that he's getting out there which is so damaging to member's beliefs.

If Joseph Smith had not married young teenage girls (as young as 14 years old) who were Emma's housemaids (many of them) and if he hadn't married other men's wives, there wouldn't be that damaging information to present to members who have never heard of this before.  So yes, he's the instrument who took the time to write this out for them and present it in an easy to read format. 

That's just one example of what the truth is regarding what is causing members to leave after they read it.   I understand why you're so angry about it (at least it appears you are) and I do really understand.  But from my many experiences with members who have read the letter, what I've described is simply the truth.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Analytics said:

Hi Smac,

I pretty much disagree with everything that you said. But rather than go around in circles on that, I'll let it rest.

Okay.

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Except for one thing:

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Second, attempting to shore up and strengthen a family member's faith (as per your hypothetical) is a radically different thing than trying to tear it down and undermine it (as Runnells has clearly intended to do).

By any chance have you read the journal article, Is Faith Compatible With Reason by Daniel C. Peterson?

Not yet.

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In the article, Peterson argues, "faith is inescapable — for the simple and sufficient reason that decisions regarding ultimate questions must be made, and must necessarily be made under conditions of objective uncertainty."

I agree with this.

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His point is that what faith really means is making a decision about a "live" question that doesn't have a definitive answer.

Okay.

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For many of us here, the question of Mormon's truth claims is a live question; "the answers are," according to Peterson, "so far as publicly demonstrable arguments go, neither 100% certain nor 100% impossible but somewhere in between and, let us say, in the rough vicinity of 50/50. Perhaps — judgments will vary — they’re 30/70 or even 5/95." Thus we are forced to make a decision without really knowing.

We have the option, however, to seek out guidance from the Holy Spirit.  We don't ascribe to Pascal's Wager.  We don't encourage investigators to join the Church on a "50/50" coin flip.  Moroni's Promise is a bold thing, but it's not an exercise in exploring random chance.

None of this, however, is addressed anywhere in Runnells' letter, because he has nothing to say about faith.  He has plenty to say, however, about rejecting and destroying and walking away from faith.

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So for Peterson, Runnell betting his soul that it is false is simply an act of faith--

I really doubt Dr. Peterson would agree with your characterization.

Mr. Runnells' letter is not an exercise or declaration of belief.  It is, instead, an exercise or expression of disbelief.  Faultfinding.  Borne of laziness, facile assessment, and the "Big List" fallacy (as Jeff Lindsay puts it).

I am seeing plenty of pro-Runnells declarations that his letter has been effective (in destroying the faith of others and persuading them to leave the Church) and well-organized (which most people with access to Microsoft Word could handle with equal facility).  But there seems to be precious little assessment of its analysis.  Or its depth of knowledge.  Or its familiarity with the varied subject matters covered in the letter.  I think this is because, in the end, we all know that Jeremy Runnells did nothing more than skim the Internet, cull a bunch of complaints and criticisms from various websites, copy and paste them into a single document, then re-characterize them as "questions" and present them as a purported sincere inquiry and request for knowledge and guidance.  

Only it wasn't.

It's a Gish Gallop.  On steroids.  It was not a good faith effort to understand the subject matter.

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exactly as you betting your soul that it is true is a matter of faith.

Nothing like.  My "betting [my] soul" is based on prayer, continuous and rigorous study and effort, spiritual impressions, obedience, perseverance, faith, and so on.

Mr. Runnells' letter is a "bet" that does not seem based on any of these things.

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That being true,

Except . . . it's not.

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Runnell trying to explain his beliefs to the world really isn't "radically different" than you trying to explain yours.

Runnells isn't espousing "faith" in any meaningful sense of the word.  He's declaring what he does not believe, and attempting - with some success - to persuade others to join him in rejecting those things.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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5 minutes ago, ALarson said:
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Not really.  It's the packaging. 

That's part of it (the "packaging".....which is a one stop read for those searching and that's why it's been very effective).

But it is really the information that he's getting out there which is so damaging to member's beliefs.

No, I don't think so.  He's not trading on "information."  He's trading on shock value.  Decontextualization.  Sensationalism. 

5 minutes ago, ALarson said:

If Joseph Smith had not married young teenage girls (as young as 14 years old) who were Emma's housemaids (many of them) and if he hadn't married other men's wives, there wouldn't be that damaging information to present to members who have never heard of this before.  So yes, he's the instrument who took the time to write this out for them and present it in an easy to read format. 

"He's the instrument?"  Who, then, is the master?  Who is using Runnells as an "instrument?"

5 minutes ago, ALarson said:

That's just one example of what is the truth regarding what is causing members to leave after they read it. 

"Just one example."  Death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts.  The "Big List" fallacy ("If Only 10% of These Charges Are True...").

Thanks,

-Smac

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39 minutes ago, Avatar4321 said:

I always thought Spider-Man was catholic

LOL. Im context, the comic book is about the dichotomy in Peter Parker's persona--while Spiderman is doing fabulous--everybody loves Spiderman and things couldn't better--Peter Parker is suffering from melancholy and feels adrift. 

In that particular frame, Spiderman  is empasizing how well he is doing by bragging about the endorsements he's getting. The implication is that the CES Letter is one of Spiderman's corporate sponsors.

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, smac97 said:

No, I don't think so. 

Of course it is!   If Joseph hadn't married 14 year old girls, Runnells wouldn't be effective in writing about that for members to read.  They read that and think, "Well, THAT can't be true!", but then they learn it is the truth.  Then they keep reading and learning more information that is the truth and that they've never heard or read before.  This letter is filled with information such as this and all in one reading. 

I really understand how you feel, but it's just a fact that he's getting damaging information out there in a manner that has been effective.  Members are still discovering it and reading it (even more than what I've seen in the past).  I'm not sure how to counteract it other than for the church to make a stronger effort to get this information to the members before they read the letter (or in other places that lead them to the same conclusions the CES letter does).   I know that information is in the essay on polygamy, but how many members have even read this essay?  

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8 minutes ago, smac97 said:

I really doubt Dr. Peterson would agree with your characterization.

If we use the definition of faith he defended as being compatible with reason, logic forces him to agree.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ALarson said:

Of course it is!   If Joseph hadn't married 14 year old girls, Runnells wouldn't be effective in writing about that for members to read.

Cheap shots presented for shock value.  Presentism.  Facile criticism.  Misrepresentation by omission and distortion.  A determined effort to keep these topics decontextualized and sensationalized.  Sarcasm.  No effort to study or meaningfully understand.

These are the tools of Runnells's trade. 

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I really understand how you feel,

No, I don't think you do.

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but it's just a fact that he's getting damaging information out there in a manner that has been effective. 

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

I have two older brothers, one of whom, "Bill," is several years older, and one of whom, "Albert," is just one year older (we were Irish twins).  One day Bill sat me and Albert down for a chat.  Albert was a few weeks away from starting junior high, and Bill had a story to tell.  It was all about the horrors of . . . gym class.  He spun a tail that I remember to this day.  He had me and Albert scared out of our wits.  That was Bill's way.  He had sort of a wicked sense of humor at the time.  

A year or so later, I began junior high myself and found that Bill's warnings about junior high were . . . not entirely accurate.  And by "not entirely accurate," I mean barely accurate at all.  Sensationalism.  Distortions.  Exaggerations.  Omissions.  He took elements of the truth and blew them out of proportion.  He exaggerated the scary parts so as to scare us.  And it worked.  He used sensationalism to scare us.  And it worked.  

Packaging.  Slant.  Selected rhetoric.  Misrepresentation by exaggeration and omission and distortion.  Sensationalism.  Shock value.  Bill's joke on us relied on these tactics.  They worked well.  But it would be inaccurate to say that it was "just a fact" that he was doing nothing more than "getting damaging information out there."

Mr. Runnells is using these same tools, but in a much more destructive and damaging way.  

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Members are still discovering it and reading it (even more than what I've seen in the past).  I'm not sure how to counteract it other than for the church to make a stronger effort to get this information to the members before they read the letter (or in other places that lead them to the same conclusions the CES letter does).   I know that information is in the essay on polygamy, but how many members have even read this essay?  

Not many.  But when they encounter sensationalized rhetoric about polygamy, those who haven't read the essays, or who have otherwise not spent much time on these things, will probably end up blaming the Church.  "The Church hid _______ from me" is a fairly common element of exit narratives.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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9 hours ago, ALarson said:

"Addressed" is not answered (at least for many who are searching and have the same doubts and questions that Runnells had).  And where did he "pretend" that those you listed "don't exist"?  He engaged in a long debate with FairMormon, for one.

Did he ever receive a response to his letter?

The CES letter has been extremely effective (IMO) and the reason it has been and continues to be read by many is because it does contain facts and information regarding the church and church history that most members are still unaware of.  It's too bad they read about it in sources like this letter first rather than from church leaders, because they then read Runnells conclusions first.  I know the church leaders are making an effort to get more truth out there, but they could do better, IMO.  Many members have still not even read the essays let alone know they even exist.

I've never sat down and read it. I just listened to his interview on Mormonstories once. I feel like I've been searching for answers so long, I know all the issues pretty much. 

Interestingly, today at work my trainer brought it up to me during lunch when she told me a gal is leaving the church after reading it. And that she is a sexual abuse survivor by a family member. When this gal exposed the family member, the family has turned their back on her. So maybe that's what led her to the CES letter.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, jkwilliams said:

Not to derail, but I'm not sure how anyone can make that judgment about someone's intentions. In my limited interactions with Jeremy, he has always come across as honest and with good intentions. We may disagree with his conclusions and his publication of the letter, but it's not really fair to judge his heart. 

He made his heart very evident during the secretly recorded excommunication hearing, his pretense to have a "interpreter" in the meeting whose actual purpose was to make the recording, his immediate withdrawal from the church after achieving  his real purpose of  fifteen minutes of fame", the  parking lot press conference, the posting of videos on youtube to generate hatred and contempt...... etc

This was a circus,  and the attempt to make the church leaders as the clowns.

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I lost interest with Spider-Man. I prefer the spinoff:

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, smac97 said:

Cheap shots presented for shock value.  Presentism.  Facile criticism.  Misrepresentation by omission and distortion. 

Not really.  Joseph did marry girls as young as 14....he also married other teenagers and most without Emma's knowledge or consent.  I've already stated that it's unfortunate that members read this and then many don't follow up and do their own research once they learn it's the truth.  And, "shock value" is there because it is truly a shock for most members to learn the details regarding how Joseph really lived polygamy.

I've also stated that I don't agree with all of Runnell's conclusions and it's unfortunate that many members read all of this for the first time from him rather than hearing about it in a more faithful setting.  But, it's a fact that these topics (for the most part) are pretty taboo to discuss at church.  It's just a problem and I'm not sure what the solution is.

All I know is that members are still hearing about the CES letter and reading it.  I doubt it's going to go away.  Members are leaving over what they learn from reading the letter too.

What do you believe the solution to that is?

 

 

Edited by ALarson

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3 hours ago, smac97 said:

 

Jim Bennett's "Reply"  is a massive (251-page) fisking of response to Runnells's letter.  If you haven't read it, I think it is worthwhile.

Thanks for posting this! Reading this now. 

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42 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Personal experience.

I have a hard time believing that a Saint can go the temple on Saturday with a difficult issue and leave having heard the voice of God both give clarity and speak peace; visit a sick elderly sister on Sunday after church, give her a priesthood blessing and see her immediately improve; invite the Elders around on Monday to teach a friend at FHE and see that the lesson they've prepared is exactly that this person needed to hear; spend some time Tuesday morning preparing for an upcoming lesson and be filled with revelation about what to teach and how to teach it; receive a quiet impression during work on Wednesday of who needs a visit that evening and then find himself in the very place he needed to be; spend much of Thursday seeking forgiveness for a mistake made earlier that morning only to feel the burden of sin completely lifted; pick up the Book of Mormon on Friday and read a passage that alters perceptions of what is most real; and then read the CES Letter on Saturday and conclude that none of what just happened is real. 

One never knows, but my guess is that most of those experiences are rather few and far between for the average church-goer.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Gray said:

One never knows, but my guess is that most of those experiences are rather few and far between for the average church-goer.

But this is Hamba Tuhan super hero that we're talking about here!

(It made me tired just reading through it :lol:)

Edited by ALarson

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55 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Not really.  Joseph did marry girls as young as 14....he also married other teenagers and most without Emma's knowledge or consent.  I've already stated that it's unfortunate that members read this and then many don't follow up and do their own research once they learn it's the truth.  And, "shock value" is there because it is truly a shock for most members to learn the details regarding how Joseph really lived polygamy.

I've also stated that I don't agree with all of Runnell's conclusions and it's unfortunate that many members read all of this for the first time from him rather than hearing about it in a more faithful setting.  But, it's a fact that these topics (for the most part) are pretty taboo to discuss at church.  It's just a problem and I'm not sure what the solution is.

All I know is that members are still hearing about the CES letter and reading it.  I doubt it's going to go away.  Members are leaving over what they learn from reading the letter too.

What do you believe the solution to that is?

 

 

All threads concerning the validity of Joseph Smith seem to come down to polygamy and that one of them was 14 years old.  That can be said in a quick statement.  That 14 year old was Helen Mar Kimball and her story is much more complicated than that sentence.  When people hear this about this 14 year old, they assume he had sex with her or at least that is the implication.  Never mind that there is not much evidence that intercourse ever happened or that Heber C Kimball approached Joseph Smith.  Helen`s devoted her life to the Church and her son became an apostle (Orson Whitney).  That can`t be packed into a little blurb.  Richard Bushman gives the strong opinion that Joseph Smiths polygamy does not invalidate all of his other life’s work.  Yet its an obstacle.  

So what are we to do?  Millennials have a short attention span and they can`t bother with newspapers or extensive research.  Terryl Givens laments that he has to do podcasts to get his work out as many will not be exposed to his work otherwise.  There does need to be a compact, hard hitting response to the CES Letter.  Entertaining, detailed and readability are paramount for the response.  The fact that the CES Letter speaks so well to millennials does point to  Rummel`s success and ingenuity.  Maybe another millennial with the chops can craft the response.  The CES Letter is not going away, as much as I wish it would.  

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11 minutes ago, Gray said:

One never knows, but my guess is that most of those experiences are rather few and far between for the average church-goer.

I think that is almost certainly the case for those who leave.

As I have noted before, when we share experiences at the beginning of each elders quorum meeting, about half of our quorum have something to share from the previous week, and about half don't. I worry about the second half.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ALarson said:
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Cheap shots presented for shock value.  Presentism.  Facile criticism.  Misrepresentation by omission and distortion. 

Not really.  Joseph did marry girls as young as 14....he also married other teenagers and most without Emma's knowledge or consent. 

I think my complete statement bears repetition:

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Cheap shots presented for shock value.  Presentism.  Facile criticism.  Misrepresentation by omission and distortion.  A determined effort to keep these topics decontextualized and sensationalized.  Sarcasm.  No effort to study or meaningfully understand.

"Girls as young as 14" has a lot of shock value, particularly when decontextualized and sensationalized.

Polygamy is a difficult topic, to be sure.  This is why I think context and measured evaluation and decorum and civility are so important.  Instead, we get superficial, decontextualized potshots from people like Jeremy Runnells.  It's too important a topic to treat with such crassness and vapidity.

I believe polygamy came from God and not from man.  The contrary proposition assumes too much about the character and motivations and circumstances of Joseph Smith.  As a man of considerable prominence and authority and influence, he would have had all sorts of opportunities to quietly engage in sexual misconduct.  Contriving a revival of the ancient biblical practice of polygamy as a pretext for sexual indiscretion just seems like overkill, like using a sledgehammer to squash a spider. 

It also doesn't account for the spectrum of women Joseph Smith purportedly married.  Nobody affects a leering tone when discussing Elizabeth Davis  (50), Sarah Kingsley (53), Fanny Young (56),  and Rhoda Richards (58).  Strangely enough, these ladies seem to escape the attention of the critics altogether.  They don't fit the oh-my-stars-and-garters!-Joseph-Smith-was-lecherous-because-he-married-teenagers! narrative, I guess. 

It also doesn't account for God's supervision of Joseph Smith.  Joseph was repeatedly rebuked by God for, it seems, errors and transgressions far less serious than what you propose: that Joseph fabricated a revelation authorizing/mandating polygamy, presented it as a revelation from God, began to act in accordance with it, and did all these things with the wicked and depraved motive of rationalizing adultery/fornication.  So it seems odd that God would rebuke Joseph Smith for losing 116 pages, but then overlook/ignore Joseph Smith doing what is being suggested here.

It also doesn't account for what we know of the character of Joseph Smith.  It requires us to assume/presume the worst about Joseph Smith.  It also relies altogether too heavily on historical lacunae, gaps in the historical record.  There are tremendous amounts of data that we simply do not have.  There are probably many things that we don't even know that we don't know.

All that said, I concede that the practice of polygamy in some particular instances may have been poorly, perhaps even improperly, implemented in some respects.  I am not sure it's within our province to pass judgment on such things, or to have speculative, gossipy, public discussions about them.

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I've already stated that it's unfortunate that members read this and then many don't follow up and do their own research once they learn it's the truth. 

And yet the "exit narratives" pretty much always blame the Church.  

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And, "shock value" is there because it is truly a shock for most members to learn the details regarding how Joseph really lived polygamy.

To some extent, yes.  But Jeremy Runnells is seeking to amplify the "shock value" as much as possible.

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I've also stated that I don't agree with all of Runnell's conclusions and it's unfortunate that many members read all of this for the first time from him rather than hearing about it in a more faithful setting.  But, it's a fact that these topics (for the most part) are pretty taboo to discuss at church. 

During the three-hour block, perhaps  But I think there is a tendency amongst some of us to, consciously or otherwise, insist on only being spoon-fed the doctrines and history of the Church, and to otherwise not devote time or effort toward studying these things.

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It's just a problem and I'm not sure what the solution is.

All I know is that members are still hearing about the CES letter and reading it.  I doubt it's going to go away.  

What do you believe the solution to that is?

A few thoughts:

1. We should innoculate, not insulate.  The essays are a good start.  I think we need to have more discussions in seminary, and in YM/YW.  And in the home.

2. We should take gospel study as an individual responsibility.  Take ownership of it.  Don't insist that the only gospel instruction is that which we receive during the three-hour block and in seminary.

3. We should ditch the "I know" paradigm.  "I'd like to bear my testimony.  I know this church is true..."  Well, actually, no.  Most of us, I think, have faith that God lives, that Jesus Christ is His Son, that the Church is what it claims to be, etc.  "I know" has become an affectation, and an inaccurate one at that.  Just as people use "literally" to mean "figuratively" ("I was so bored yesterday, I was literally climbing the walls..."), I think members of the Church use "I know" to mean "I believe."  And in so doing we've set up an incorrect perception of things.  "For we walk by faith, not by sight."  (2 Cor. 5:7).  "{I}f a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it."  (Alma 32:17-18).  "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."  (AoF 1:9).

We are supposed to not have a sure knowledge.  We are supposed to be proceeding in faith.  But we've made it seem like anything short of a pulpit-thumping "I know..." just isn't good enough.  But "I know" seems to rigid.  To fragile.  To glass-jawed.  "I believe...", on the other hand, gives us some room.  Some time and some space to absorb challenging/difficult things.  

4. We need to ditch the notion that the Oracle of Google will tell us everything we need to know.  It won't.  It will tell us selected bits and pieces based on algorithms and page views and dozens of other factors that are largely untethered from accuracy, reasonableness, and so on.  

5. We need to put some space between action and reaction.  Ours is an impatient era.  We need to give ourselves time to study, to grow, to learn, to absorb, to evaluate new information, to re-assess, and so on.  Context matters.  Information matters.  Knowing how much we don't know about a given topic matters. As it is, I think a lot of people are making rash, knee-jerk decisions about the Church that are neither studied nor reasoned.

6. I think we need to stop speaking evil of the Lord's anointed, both past and present.  We can and should address disagreements in the Church, but in the right time, and place, and manner.  

I think we need to remind ourselves of Mormon 9:31.  Often.  "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been."

For the love of pete, we need to cut the early members of the Church some slack.  A lot of slack, actually.  It's not like the Lord gave them books entitled "How to Establish the Kingdom of God in Ten Easy Steps," or "Apostleship for Dummies," or "Everything You Want to Know About Revelation (But Are Afraid to Ask)."

The early leaders of the Church were functioning in their leadership capacities with little or no "institutional knowledge" regarding the ins and outs of church governance.  So when Brigham Young became an apostle, and then the Presiding High Priest, he had very little in the way of training from more experienced general authorities to teach him how to run the LDS Church.  And he had very little in the way of formal education (which, in the 19th century, would have been fairly limited anyway).  The same goes for his predecessor, Joseph Smith, his contemporaries, and his successors.

And the Church was in tremendous turmoil and under much hardship for many years (persecutions in Nauvoo, the initial trek west, the ongoing flow of immigrants in the ensuing years, the settlement of the west, the creation of towns, the feeding and provisioning of thousands of newly-minted and -arrived church members, international missionary work, building the Salt Lake Temple, Johnston's Army, Mountain Meadows, polygamy, and on and on and on).

I am deeply impressed at the accomplishments of the early leaders of the Church.  Their experiences, their successes, and their failures, have been helpful to the subsequent generations of leaders and members of the Church.  One of the benefits which are now accruing to today's leaders is the ability to look back and see what was done by past leaders, including perhaps some occasional tendency to publicly conflate personal opinion with scriptural/revelatory precepts.  I think today's leaders are much better about differentiating between the two, and focusing on the latter to the exclusion of the former when making public, formal remarks in their capacities as General Authorities.  These men and women had to deal with many more life-and-death issues, moral conundrums, matters of civil governance, and so on, than we do.  It's easy for us to sit in front of our computers and presume to dole out judgments against people we've never met, who faced situations we've never seen, and dealt with challenges we've never endured.

"For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."  (3 Nephi 14:2)

7. I think covenant-keeping needs more emphasis.  Covenants are not intended for times when the going is easy.  Covenants are supposed to keep us bound together when the going is not easy.  When it's downright difficult.

8. I think we should spend less time fretting about the frailties and failures of the leaders of the Church, and more time in service to our fellow man, in study of the Restored Gospel, and in fostering basic virtues like patience, humility, kindness, forgiveness, penitence, and so on.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97
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11 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I think that is almost certainly the case for those who leave.

As I have noted before, when we share experiences at the beginning of each elders quorum meeting, about half of our quorum have something to share from the previous week, and about half don't. I worry about the second half.

Almost no one in my ward shares experiences like that. Despite that fact, it's a nice ward filled with nice people.

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10 minutes ago, Gray said:

Almost no one in my ward shares experiences like that. Despite that fact, it's a nice ward filled with nice people.

Maybe they just don't share them with you? Maybe your entire ward are living beneath their privileges? I'm certain they're nice.

My assigned talk at our upcoming stake conference is on how ministering saves the ministers. It is based on what Elder Bednar said to us in a recent training meeting: only those fully engaged in the work will have the personal experiences necessary to survive the challenges to testimony that exist (and will only increase) in these days. We're already seeing this play out in our ward. Those who are engaged are going from strength to strength. When I'm with them, we have endless experiences to share, and we share them with rejoicing. The other half of the ward seem to be wandering in some kind of aimless habit of church attendance.

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16 minutes ago, smac97 said:

We should ditch the "I know" paradigm.

Whenever I share my testimony, I carefully distinguish between things I know (specific events and/or general conclusions based upon repeated personal experience) vs things I believe. I'm not willing to give up speaking about the former in terms that are accurate.

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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

Not really.  Joseph did marry girls as young as 14....he also married other teenagers and most without Emma's knowledge or consent.  I've already stated that it's unfortunate that members read this and then many don't follow up and do their own research once they learn it's the truth.  And, "shock value" is there because it is truly a shock for most members to learn the details regarding how Joseph really lived polygamy.

I've also stated that I don't agree with all of Runnell's conclusions and it's unfortunate that many members read all of this for the first time from him rather than hearing about it in a more faithful setting.  But, it's a fact that these topics (for the most part) are pretty taboo to discuss at church.  It's just a problem and I'm not sure what the solution is.

All I know is that members are still hearing about the CES letter and reading it.  I doubt it's going to go away.  Members are leaving over what they learn from reading the letter too.

What do you believe the solution to that is?

 

 

I still haven’t heard any satisfactory explanations that justify this behavior by Joseph.  The Topics essays essentially say it’s because God commanded it via an angel with a sword.  Which is even more problematic.  

It’s very easy to understand how this information is extremely troubling for many, and I don’t know see how any degree of contextualization is supposed to make this all hunky dory.  

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7 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Whenever I share my testimony, I carefully distinguish between things I know (specific events and/or general conclusions based upon repeated personal experience) vs things I believe. I'm not willing to give up speaking about the former in terms that are accurate.

I'm fine with that.  The "I know" paradigm doesn't mean I preclude the possibility of a person having a "sure knowledge" of some facets of the Gospel. 

Thanks,

-Smac

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Maybe they just don't share them with you? Maybe your entire ward are living beneath their privileges? I'm certain they're nice.

My assigned talk at our upcoming stake conference is on how ministering saves the ministers. It is based on what Elder Bednar said to us in a recent training meeting: only those fully engaged in the work will have the personal experiences necessary to survive the challenges to testimony that exist (and will only increase) in these days. We're already seeing this play out in our ward. Those who are engaged are going from strength to strength. When I'm with them, we have endless experiences to share, and we share them with rejoicing. The other half of the ward seem to be wandering in some kind of aimless habit of church attendance.

We don't seem to share miracle stories in my ward. One does hear about personal revelations from time to time. But for us it's almost always in sacrament meeting, and relatively infrequently. Nothing like that in priesthood or Sunday School.

As with any religious tradition, I suppose one gets out of it what one puts into it, at least to some extent.

Edited by Gray

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1 minute ago, Gray said:

We don't seem to share miracle stories in my ward.

I wouldn't call them 'miracle stories', just what life is actually like as a member of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ.

Quote

As with any religious tradition, I suppose one gets out of it what one puts into it, at least to some extent.

Indeed.

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