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Navidad

Polemics and Apologetics

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I would love to hear the views of the folks on this forum regarding the differences between apologetics and polemics. Within my tradition, the two have been defined differently in that apologetics is typically thought of as a defense of Christianity against "outside" forces that would seek to deny its validity, doctrine, etc. Polemics are defined as internal disagreements within the Christian family regarding specific doctrines, themes, emphases, etc. Depending on their exclusivity, Christian fundamentalists have often seen the debates between members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and "Christians" as apologetics, while many evangelicals would define them as polemics since more evangelicals than fundamentalists see Mormons as fellow-Christians with disagreements on non-essentials. In addition, polemics have traditionally be seen as more aggressive, hostile, mean-spirited etc. Perhaps as is often thought that inter-familiar strife might be among the worst kind. Apologetics are often seen as a more scholarly approach to disagreement. This ignores the history that for many years seminaries and prestigious departments of religion had professors of polemics in their faculty. I don't know of any such positions today. The great scholar B. B. Warfield of Princeton held such a position and was a key player in inter-Presbyterian warfare at the beginning of the 20th century. How would a knowledgeable member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints describe the differences, if any between the two? I have thought of Roberts, Talmage, and Nibley as having both apologetic and polemical (is that a word) tendencies in that they were eager to take on forces inside or outside the church. I have also tended to see the impassioned Saint and rabid fundamentalist going at each other on the street corner in Mesa, or on Temple Square as polemicists because they both foster a simplistic debate, heaving scriptures at each other and only asking questions so they can rebut the answer using p. 145 of their memorized responses. They may both be mean! Neither one gets anywhere with the other, but both feel far more spiritual for the exercise. I think both ignore the wisdom found in Proverbs 16:21 - The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

I am an evangelical who happens to believe that we (both LDS and non-LDS Christians) should stop all together from trying to convert each other since we are both Christians and that if and when we find disagreement, we should defer the debate unless the differences are about essentials. And I think 90% of held doctrines are non-essential. I don't expect many to agree with me on that in either community, and guess what, they don't! I am a student of religion and conflict. I think too many of us too often are making God cry. I think much of the violence in both Mormon and Mennonite history can be attributed to religious conflict in addition to economic and sociological differences. Ok, now I am done with my polemic . . . err . . . apologetic for my point of view! Ha!

What say ye all? Is there a differentiation within the Church between those who seek to maintain purity within and those who seek to fight it from without?  What are the commonly held definitions of the two means of advocating for doctrinal purity in your experience? Thanks so much. 

Edited by Navidad

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Can you give a brief summary?  say... 10,000 words or less.  👀

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51 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I would love to hear the views of the folks on this forum regarding the differences between apologetics and polemics. Within my tradition, the two have been defined differently in that apologetics is typically thought of as a defense of Christianity against "outside" forces that would seek to deny its validity, doctrine, etc. Polemics are defined as internal disagreements within the Christian family regarding specific doctrines, themes, emphases, etc. Depending on their exclusivity, Christian fundamentalists have often seen the debates between members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and "Christians" as apologetics, while many evangelicals would define them as polemics since more evangelicals than fundamentalists see Mormons as fellow-Christians with disagreements on non-essentials. In addition, polemics have traditionally be seen as more aggressive, hostile, mean-spirited etc. Perhaps as is often thought that inter-familiar strife might be among the worst kind. Apologetics are often seen as a more scholarly approach to disagreement. This ignores the history that for many years seminaries and prestigious departments of religion had professors of polemics in their faculty. I don't know of any such positions today. The great scholar B. B. Warfield of Princeton held such a position and was a key player in inter-Presbyterian warfare at the beginning of the 20th century. How would a knowledgeable member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints describe the differences, if any between the two? I have thought of Roberts, Talmage, and Nibley as having both apologetic and polemical (is that a word) tendencies in that they were eager to take on forces inside or outside the church. I have also tended to see the impassioned Saint and rabid fundamentalist going at each other on the street corner in Mesa, or on Temple Square as polemicists because they both foster a simplistic debate, heaving scriptures at each other and only asking questions so they can rebut the answer using p. 145 of their memorized responses. They may both be mean! Neither one gets anywhere with the other, but both feel far more spiritual for the exercise. I think both ignore the wisdom found in Proverbs 16:21 - The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.

I am an evangelical who happens to believe that we (both LDS and non-LDS Christians) should stop all together from trying to convert each other since we are both Christians and that if and when we find disagreement, we should defer the debate unless the differences are about essentials. And I think 90% of held doctrines are non-essential. I don't expect many to agree with me on that in either community, and guess what, they don't! I am a student of religion and conflict. I think too many of us too often are making God cry. I think much of the violence in both Mormon and Mennonite history can be attributed to religious conflict in addition to economic and sociological differences. Ok, now I am done with my polemic . . . err . . . apologetic for my point of view! Ha!

What say ye all? Is there a differentiation within the Church between those who seek to maintain purity within and those who seek to fight it from without?  What are the commonly held definitions of the two means of advocating for doctrinal purity in your experience? Thanks so much. 

We make no such distinction.

Everyone is wrong except us. ;)

Ironic and funny probably, but pretty much true ;)

 

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2 hours ago, cdowis said:

Can you give a brief summary?  say... 10,000 words or less.  👀

Nope! I am much more interested in knowing what you think. Thanks

Edited by Navidad

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As you know, Brother, the Christian notion of apologetics comes first of all from 1 Peter 3:15 "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear," in which "answer, defense" is the translation of Greek apologia.  The quintessential apology or explanation is that of Socrates' "Apology."  When I think of normative Christian apologetics, I think of Josh McDowell.

One can make an apology with or without polemics.  Polemic attacks are sometimes used thus on the theory that a good defense is often a good offense.  

Use of the term "fundamentalist" will often be misunderstood within the LDS community as a reference to the Fundamentalist LDS polygamists, who are regarded as heretics.

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22 hours ago, Navidad said:

How would a knowledgeable member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints describe the differences, if any between the two? 

No difference.  Explaining beliefs is explaining beliefs.  Yes, it's best to speak to your specific audience, but that's custom presentation and doesn't make the subject matter different.  

22 hours ago, Navidad said:

What say ye all? Is there a differentiation within the Church between those who seek to maintain purity within and those who seek to fight it from without?  What are the commonly held definitions of the two means of advocating for doctrinal purity in your experience? Thanks so much. 

Due to modern day revelation, "maintaining doctrinal purity" is approaches from a VERY different angle in LDS camp versus non LDS camps.  I would not feel comfortable comparing these apples and zebra approaches.  

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The LDS Church has apostles and prophets which should remove polemics within our faith outside of speculative issues which we should not argue about in any case. Polemics against other Christian faiths? While we are not aggressive about this now our history and origin is basically a standing rebuke against other Christian faiths. While we can collaborate with other faiths we cannot pretend our differences are insignificant without mutilating our doctrine.

And as said above our teaching is that we are correct and every other faith has been corrupted (in the sense that what was once pure is not anymore and not in the more sinister way the word corruption is often used).

As another point I think attempts at ecumenism are flawed from the start. While collaboration between churches can yield much good pretending your doctrinal differences are insignificant is a bad sign and tends to attract not the deep believers in faiths but attracts those who believe in less.

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6 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

The LDS Church has apostles and prophets which should remove polemics within our faith outside of speculative issues which we should not argue about in any case. Polemics against other Christian faiths? While we are not aggressive about this now our history and origin is basically a standing rebuke against other Christian faiths. While we can collaborate with other faiths we cannot pretend our differences are insignificant without mutilating our doctrine.

And as said above our teaching is that we are correct and every other faith has been corrupted (in the sense that what was once pure is not anymore and not in the more sinister way the word corruption is often used).

As another point I think attempts at ecumenism are flawed from the start. While collaboration between churches can yield much good pretending your doctrinal differences are insignificant is a bad sign and tends to attract not the deep believers in faiths but attracts those who believe in less.

bold mine

Whoa, can't believe you admitted to this, way to stay honest!

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

bold mine

Whoa, can't believe you admitted to this, way to stay honest!

The church teaches this everywhere, it's not "admitting" to anything.

Go to lds.org and search "apostasy."

You will find a hundred articles that say exactly this.

The Epistles themselves already show the beginning of the apostasy. It's clear from the Bible that everyone was headed the wrong direction.

Edited by mfbukowski
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21 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

No difference.  Explaining beliefs is explaining beliefs.  Yes, it's best to speak to your specific audience, but that's custom presentation and doesn't make the subject matter different.  

Due to modern day revelation, "maintaining doctrinal purity" is approaches from a VERY different angle in LDS camp versus non LDS camps.  I would not feel comfortable comparing these apples and zebra approaches.  

Thanks. So for example, if a professor at a secular university who maintains that he is a faithful Mormon writes an article claiming the Book of Mormon is allegorical and was not written to be historically accurate, I assume someone within the Church who believes otherwise would try and correct his position; maybe even someone on this forum.  Wouldn't seeking to speak against his position be seen as seeking to maintain doctrinal purity? Of if someone outside the Church maintains that the First Vision was a dream, not an actual vision? Wouldn't a faithful member, maybe even on this site seek to correct that idea? Isn't that maintaining doctrinal purity? I don't think the faithful members merely wink at those kinds of heterodox beliefs, do they? I sense from the first two replies that there is no distinction made between polemics and apologetics in these kinds of questions. I am simply seeking to use the correct terms as they might be understood in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints context. 

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@Tacenda

Here are the scriptures from lds.org in the New testament showing the beginnings of the apostasy:

his disciples went back, and walked no more with him, John 6:66.
                    
                    
                        shall grievous wolves enter in among you, Acts 20:29.
                    
                    
                        there be divisions among you, 1 Cor. 11:18.
                    
                    
                        I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him, Gal. 1:6.
                    
                    
                        who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey, Gal. 3:1.
                    
                    
                        shall not come, except there come a falling away first, 2 Thes. 2:3.
                    
                    
                        some having swerved have turned aside, 1 Tim. 1:6.
                    
                    
                        giving heed to seducing spirits, 1 Tim. 4:1.
                    
                    
                        all they which are in Asia be turned away from me, 2 Tim. 1:15.
                    
                    
                        Who concerning the truth have erred, 2 Tim. 2:18.
                    
                    
                        Having a form of godliness, but denying the power, 2 Tim. 3:5.
                    
                    
                        turn away their ears from the truth … unto fables, 2 Tim. 4:4.
                    
                    
                        profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, Titus 1:16.
                    
                    
                        From whence come wars and fightings among you, James 4:1.
                    
                    
                        false prophets also among the people, 2 Pet. 2:1.
                    
                    
                        being led away with the error of the wicked, 2 Pet. 3:17.
                    
                    
                        now are there many antichrists, 1 Jn. 2:18.
                    
                    
                        many false prophets are gone out into the world, 1 Jn. 4:1.
                    
                    
                        certain men crept in … denying the only Lord God, Jude 1:4.
                    
                    
                        which say they are apostles, and are not, Rev. 2:2.
                    
                    
                        thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, Rev. 3:16.
                    
                    
                        to make war with the saints, Rev. 13:7.

Edited by mfbukowski
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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

The LDS Church has apostles and prophets which should remove polemics within our faith outside of speculative issues which we should not argue about in any case. Polemics against other Christian faiths? While we are not aggressive about this now our history and origin is basically a standing rebuke against other Christian faiths. While we can collaborate with other faiths we cannot pretend our differences are insignificant without mutilating our doctrine.

And as said above our teaching is that we are correct and every other faith has been corrupted (in the sense that what was once pure is not anymore and not in the more sinister way the word corruption is often used).

As another point I think attempts at ecumenism are flawed from the start. While collaboration between churches can yield much good pretending your doctrinal differences are insignificant is a bad sign and tends to attract not the deep believers in faiths but attracts those who believe in less.

Thanks for the very interesting reply. Is trying to acknowledge members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as members of the Christian community ecumenism?  Is there somehow a distinction between a member of the Church saying he is a Christian and a non-member of the Church saying members of the Church are Christians?

Edited by Navidad

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I think of myself as a "Restored Christian"

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11 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

@Tacenda

Here are the scriptures from lds.org in the New testament showing the beginnings of the apostasy:

his disciples went back, and walked no more with him, John 6:66.
                    
                    
                        shall grievous wolves enter in among you, Acts 20:29.
                    
                    
                        there be divisions among you, 1 Cor. 11:18.
                    
                    
                        I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him, Gal. 1:6.
                    
                    
                        who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey, Gal. 3:1.
                    
                    
                        shall not come, except there come a falling away first, 2 Thes. 2:3.
                    
                    
                        some having swerved have turned aside, 1 Tim. 1:6.
                    
                    
                        giving heed to seducing spirits, 1 Tim. 4:1.
                    
                    
                        all they which are in Asia be turned away from me, 2 Tim. 1:15.
                    
                    
                        Who concerning the truth have erred, 2 Tim. 2:18.
                    
                    
                        Having a form of godliness, but denying the power, 2 Tim. 3:5.
                    
                    
                        turn away their ears from the truth … unto fables, 2 Tim. 4:4.
                    
                    
                        profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, Titus 1:16.
                    
                    
                        From whence come wars and fightings among you, James 4:1.
                    
                    
                        false prophets also among the people, 2 Pet. 2:1.
                    
                    
                        being led away with the error of the wicked, 2 Pet. 3:17.
                    
                    
                        now are there many antichrists, 1 Jn. 2:18.
                    
                    
                        many false prophets are gone out into the world, 1 Jn. 4:1.
                    
                    
                        certain men crept in … denying the only Lord God, Jude 1:4.
                    
                    
                        which say they are apostles, and are not, Rev. 2:2.
                    
                    
                        thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, Rev. 3:16.
                    
                    
                        to make war with the saints, Rev. 13:7.

Goodness, the only way I'm going to put these in context is by reading each one contextually. Nice try in getting me to read my scriptures!! ;)

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

bold mine

Whoa, can't believe you admitted to this, way to stay honest!

It is not exactly a dark secret. It is all over the First Vision account and throughout the D&C.

9 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Thanks for the very interesting reply. Is trying to acknowledge members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as members of the Christian community ecumenism?  Is there somehow a distinction between a member of the Church saying he is a Christian and a non-member of the Church saying they are Christians?

I think labeling us as Christian is just true. We are almost embarrassingly verbose about following Christ in our scriptures. The Bible has nothing on the Book of Mormon in that category. It can be argued who actually possesses the real teachings of Christ in their most form (spoiler: we do) and who is actually following said teachings (spoiler: actually everyone is pretty bad at it).

If I was assigned by society to create a hard line as to who is Christian I would make it those who believe Jesus was the Son of God who redeemed the world. A softer line might be that Jesus is the chosen messiah. An ever softer line makes him a prophet of God. The line I do not accept is that he was a nice guy who taught some neat things and I am not sure how you can call that a religion at all.

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7 minutes ago, The Nehor said:

It is not exactly a dark secret. It is all over the First Vision account and throughout the D&C.

I think labeling us as Christian is just true. We are almost embarrassingly verbose about following Christ in our scriptures. The Bible has nothing on the Book of Mormon in that category. It can be argued who actually possesses the real teachings of Christ in their most form (spoiler: we do) and who is actually following said teachings (spoiler: actually everyone is pretty bad at it).

If I was assigned by society to create a hard line as to who is Christian I would make it those who believe Jesus was the Son of God who redeemed the world. A softer line might be that Jesus is the chosen messiah. An ever softer line makes him a prophet of God. The line I do not accept is that he was a nice guy who taught some neat things and I am not sure how you can call that a religion at all.

I couldn't agree more with everything you have said. I was just trying to understand your comment "I think attempts at ecumenism are flawed from the start."

I think of ecumenism as Christians coming together to acknowledge they are a community, implying they have great commonality, while acknowledging unique differences in polity and non-essential doctrines, such as Mennonite beliefs in conscientious objection and pacifism or Mormon beliefs in pre-mortal spirit children, three levels of heaven, etc. I believe all those beliefs to be non-essential and that each Christian group can maintain those doctrinal distinctions which often come out of a unique interpretation of Scripture and or other revelation via a shared history and community norms, while joining together in a shared community of belief as Christians.  I struggle to understand where my LDS friends are in all of that. I am really trying. . . but am not yet there. 

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Is there somehow a distinction between a member of the Church saying he is a Christian and a non-member of the Church saying they are Christians?

No difference.  Christianity is simply a higher level nomenclature. It may say something of the family (Christianity), for example, but it says nothing of the genus (restorationist) or species (Latter-day Saint). 

Edited by pogi

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20 minutes ago, Navidad said:

I couldn't agree more with everything you have said. I was just trying to understand your comment "I think attempts at ecumenism are flawed from the start."

I think of ecumenism as Christians coming together to acknowledge they are a community, implying they have great commonality, while acknowledging unique differences in polity and non-essential doctrines, such as Mennonite beliefs in conscientious objection and pacifism or Mormon beliefs in pre-mortal spirit children, three levels of heaven, etc. I believe all those beliefs to be non-essential and that each Christian group can maintain those doctrinal distinctions which often come out of a unique interpretation of Scripture and or other revelation via a shared history and community norms, while joining together in a shared community of belief as Christians.  I struggle to understand where my LDS friends are in all of that. I am really trying. . . but am not yet there. 

We belong to the same Christian family, and I agree that we share a lot in common.  Heck, we share a lot in common with non-Christians too.  Where we disagree is on the essentials for salvation.  I would say that very few sects actually agree on what the essentials are.  Ecumenism works up to that point. 

Edited by pogi

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11 minutes ago, pogi said:

We belong to the same Christian family, and I agree that we share a lot in common.  Heck, we share a lot in common with non-Christians too.  Where we disagree is on the essentials for salvation.  I would say that very few sects actually agree on what the essentials are.  Ecumenism works up to that point. 

Thanks for your replies. Would it make sense to you if I correlated non-LDS Christian's concept of salvation and subsequent sanctification to the LDS Christian's understanding of salvation - thus acknowledging both as a process inclusive of works over time? We might still disagree on some of the requisites, but it seems we would be a lot closer than simply comparing the non-LDS concept of being born-again and the lengthier LDS Christian process included in "salvation."

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

Thanks. So for example, if a professor at a secular university who maintains that he is a faithful Mormon writes an article claiming the Book of Mormon is allegorical and was not written to be historically accurate, I assume someone within the Church who believes otherwise would try and correct his position; maybe even someone on this forum.  Wouldn't seeking to speak against his position be seen as seeking to maintain doctrinal purity? Of if someone outside the Church maintains that the First Vision was a dream, not an actual vision? Wouldn't a faithful member, maybe even on this site seek to correct that idea? Isn't that maintaining doctrinal purity? I don't think the faithful members merely wink at those kinds of heterodox beliefs, do they? I sense from the first two replies that there is no distinction made between polemics and apologetics in these kinds of questions. I am simply seeking to use the correct terms as they might be understood in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints context. 

Both LDS and non-LDS schools do do theological correction, that is for sure.  But the methodology of said correction varies dramatically.  For LDS, it's very reliant on revelation and priesthood authority.  For non-LDS things like an academic degree matter and things are more of a matter of debate (hence the field of "polemics").  Ultimately this really comes down to the different epistemological approaches.  

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6 minutes ago, Navidad said:

Thanks for your replies. Would it make sense to you if I correlated non-LDS Christian's concept of salvation and subsequent sanctification to the LDS Christian's understanding of salvation - thus acknowledging both as a process inclusive of works over time? We might still disagree on some of the requisites, but it seems we would be a lot closer than simply comparing the non-LDS concept of being born-again and the lengthier LDS Christian process included in "salvation."

It might be an interesting exercise, but in the end all it will show is what is already known - that we are of the same family but a different genus and species.  While there might be similarities between the species, our differences make us unique.  We think those differences are important and should not be down-played.  

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1 hour ago, Navidad said:

I couldn't agree more with everything you have said. I was just trying to understand your comment "I think attempts at ecumenism are flawed from the start."

I think of ecumenism as Christians coming together to acknowledge they are a community, implying they have great commonality, while acknowledging unique differences in polity and non-essential doctrines, such as Mennonite beliefs in conscientious objection and pacifism or Mormon beliefs in pre-mortal spirit children, three levels of heaven, etc. I believe all those beliefs to be non-essential and that each Christian group can maintain those doctrinal distinctions which often come out of a unique interpretation of Scripture and or other revelation via a shared history and community norms, while joining together in a shared community of belief as Christians.  I struggle to understand where my LDS friends are in all of that. I am really trying. . . but am not yet there. 

While there are some commonalities I view these doctrinal differences as essential. At least many of them.

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3 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Goodness, the only way I'm going to put these in context is by reading each one contextually. Nice try in getting me to read my scriptures!! ;)

Well it would have taken a ton of space to quote- what?  How much is the "context"?  ;)

For some of us it is just a reminder of that scripture and for others perhaps they never noticed them before.

All I did was go to the Scripture Library, go to the scriptural topical guide and search for "Apostasy of Early Christian Church and from there it was a copy and paste.  Five minutes- but those are good scriptures.  If you read them together you really can see what was already going on even in the days of the Apostles.  

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3 hours ago, Navidad said:

. I am simply seeking to use the correct terms as they might be understood in a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints context. 

But that is precisely the problem- you have been told by several people now that the terms are not seen that way in a COJCLDS context.

I know you have a problem with LDS "exclusivity" as you put it but you need to understand that it is real.

Every thread you start is a variation of the same point.  Do LDS really think they are the only true AND living church?

The answer is a resounding YES!  

Get over it.

LIVING because we have prophets and change is a vital part of the church.  Some members do not understand that because they have been raised in tradition, but if you actually read and understand the scriptures and what has been said about them, you see it otherwise.

I am always butting heads with "traditional" Saints because I came in as a convert without traditions, so I go by what is actually written content.  They see prophets as infallible- I see them as I see Joseph- as a fallible human being who God chose despite the limitations of all humans, to deliver us the gospel.  The traditional view is made of ...just that- traditions which do not necessarily reflect the gospel as shown today.  But if you actually read what Joseph Smith said about it- he did not see it that way.

I was talking to my stake president who agrees completely with me that this church is not about tradition but about BECOMING the best church and best human beings we can be.  Classic Secular Christianity cannot be changed- by definition but ours is a church based in BECOMING and individual and church wide PROGRESSION.

The recurring changes in the Temple ceremonies are simply examples of that.  The recent ones have clarified positions and misunderstandings about the marriage relationship.  But they bother many traditionalists.

What you do not understand is that it is not about "correcting doctrine"- in many instances it is about CREATING Doctrine!

Traditional Christians would call that "adding to scripture" and as something never done- while it is the ESSENCE of our church as a living church.

Mormon Doctrine- the McConkie book for example- fossilized that traditional view into stone where he said ridiculous thinks like that it is against doctrine to play cards with "face cards".

Totally wrong.  Perhaps it was a Protestant fundamentalist tradition which got carried into the church- as many of these points you bring up are.  But that one has no basis in fact.

So what faithful Saints believe is all over the map.  Perhaps in your ward there are many traditionalists- I don't know

But many of those traditions do not have any basis in the gospel of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by the COJCLDS today.

I know you won't respond- but this is for others anyway.

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15 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

But that is precisely the problem- you have been told by several people now that the terms are not seen that way in a COJCLDS context.

I know you have a problem with LDS "exclusivity" as you put it but you need to understand that it is real.

Every thread you start is a variation of the same point.  Do LDS really think they are the only true AND living church?

The answer is a resounding YES!  

Get over it.

LIVING because we have prophets and change is a vital part of the church.  Some members do not understand that because they have been raised in tradition, but if you actually read and understand the scriptures and what has been said about them, you see it otherwise.

I am always butting heads with "traditional" Saints because I came in as a convert without traditions, so I go by what is actually written content.  They see prophets as infallible- I see them as I see Joseph- as a fallible human being who God chose despite the limitations of all humans, to deliver us the gospel.  The traditional view is made of ...just that- traditions which do not necessarily reflect the gospel as shown today.  But if you actually read what Joseph Smith said about it- he did not see it that way.

I was talking to my stake president who agrees completely with me that this church is not about tradition but about BECOMING the best church and best human beings we can be.  Classic Secular Christianity cannot be changed- by definition but ours is a church based in BECOMING and individual and church wide PROGRESSION.

The recurring changes in the Temple ceremonies are simply examples of that.  The recent ones have clarified positions and misunderstandings about the marriage relationship.  But they bother many traditionalists.

What you do not understand is that it is not about "correcting doctrine"- in many instances it is about CREATING Doctrine!

Traditional Christians would call that "adding to scripture" and as something never done- while it is the ESSENCE of our church as a living church.

Mormon Doctrine- the McConkie book for example- fossilized that traditional view into stone where he said ridiculous thinks like that it is against doctrine to play cards with "face cards".

Totally wrong.  Perhaps it was a Protestant fundamentalist tradition which got carried into the church- as many of these points you bring up are.  But that one has no basis in fact.

So what faithful Saints believe is all over the map.  Perhaps in your ward there are many traditionalists- I don't know

But many of those traditions do not have any basis in the gospel of Jesus Christ as proclaimed by the COJCLDS today.

I know you won't respond- but this is for others anyway.

So do you think this is the one true church because all the others are stale in comparison, and stay as is? I'm asking respectfully, and thinking that if this is the case I can certainly get behind that.

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