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Elder Corbridge BYU devotional on “questions” - 22 Jan 2019

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Another general authority tells young single adults to please stay in the ship despite their questions about church history, blacks/women and the priesthood, polygamy, gay marriage, first vision accounts, etc.  Similar to the Renlunds’ theme:  just stick with the basics, you don’t need to know more.

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2019-01-22/what-to-do-with-your-questions-according-to-1-general-authority-whos-an-expert-on-anti-church-materials-48843.amp?__twitter_impression=true

From the article:

“Elder Corbridge explained there are primary and secondary questions when it comes to the Church. The primary questions must be answered first, as they are the most important. They include:

  • Is there a God who is our Father?
  • Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Savior of the world?
  • Was Joseph Smith a prophet?
  • Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the kingdom of God on the earth?

“In contrast, the secondary questions are unending. They include questions about Church history, polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, women and the priesthood, how the Book of Mormon was translated, DNA and the Book of Mormon, gay marriage, different accounts of the First Vision and so on.

“If you answer the primary questions, the secondary questions get answered too or they pale in significance and you can deal with things you understand and things you don’t understand, things you agree with and things you don’t agree with without jumping ship altogether,” Elder Corbridge said.”

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There are some members of the Church who don’t know the answers to the primary questions, and they spend their time and attention slogging through the secondary questions.

“They mistakenly try to learn the truth by process of elimination, by attempting to eliminate every doubt,” Elder Corbridge said.

Boy does he have that wrong.  

Quote

In contrast to that gloom and stupor of thought, the Spirit of light, intelligence, peace and truth attends the events and doctrine of the Restoration, especially the scriptures revealed through Joseph Smith.

“Just read them and ask yourself and ask God if these are the words of deceit, delusion or truth.”

A very black and white view.  It seems rather shallow and unthoughtful to me.  

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16 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Can we all take a moment to laugh about "anti-Church materials"? 

I guess that's the new anti-Mormon? Seems pretty non-specific though.

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16 minutes ago, the narrator said:

Can we all take a moment to laugh about "anti-Church materials"?

I would love to see the list of what he considered "anti-Church materials". And, the thought that one could just sit down and read though all of this material or even a significant portion of it, is just a bit difficult to believe. 

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11 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

I would love to see the list of what he considered "anti-Church materials". And, the thought that one could just sit down and read though all of this material or even a significant portion of it, is just a bit difficult to believe. 

i'd imagine he would have subjects but not every single piece of information. There was that graphic from mormon leaks a few years ago that had different subjects, Dehlin and Robert Norman made the list and people were like who is Robert Norman? but i'd imagine these were the groupings of information and he read or talked to people with those issues, but I don't speak for Elder Corbridge

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1 hour ago, stemelbow said:
Quote

There are some members of the Church who don’t know the answers to the primary questions, and they spend their time and attention slogging through the secondary questions.

“They mistakenly try to learn the truth by process of elimination, by attempting to eliminate every doubt,” Elder Corbridge said.

Boy does he have that wrong.

So Elder Corbridge is saying there are some members of the church who do this.  When you say that he's wrong are you meaning that there are no members of the church who do this?

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

Another general authority tells young single adults to please stay in the ship despite their questions about church history, blacks/women and the priesthood, polygamy, gay marriage, first vision accounts, etc.  Similar to the Renlunds’ theme:  just stick with the basics, you don’t need to know more.

https://www.thechurchnews.com/leaders-and-ministry/2019-01-22/what-to-do-with-your-questions-according-to-1-general-authority-whos-an-expert-on-anti-church-materials-48843.amp?__twitter_impression=true

From the article:

“Elder Corbridge explained there are primary and secondary questions when it comes to the Church. The primary questions must be answered first, as they are the most important. They include:

  • Is there a God who is our Father?
  • Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Savior of the world?
  • Was Joseph Smith a prophet?
  • Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the kingdom of God on the earth?

“In contrast, the secondary questions are unending. They include questions about Church history, polygamy, blacks and the priesthood, women and the priesthood, how the Book of Mormon was translated, DNA and the Book of Mormon, gay marriage, different accounts of the First Vision and so on.

“If you answer the primary questions, the secondary questions get answered too or they pale in significance and you can deal with things you understand and things you don’t understand, things you agree with and things you don’t agree with without jumping ship altogether,” Elder Corbridge said.”

I think everything he says is sound. He seems to empathize with the darkness people feel when reading antagonistic material. Of course, this darkness can be manifest in various ways other than just the gloom or stupor of thought he experienced, and it needn’t arise from antagonistic material alone (the secondary questions can arise from a lack of information, social pressure, politics, personal bias, information processing style etc.). I don’t see him saying “please stay,” though the invitation and counsel is certainly to do so through responsible self-management: “The challenge is not as much closing the gap between our actions and our beliefs. The challenge, rather, is closing the gap between our beliefs and the truth.”

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33 minutes ago, ksfisher said:

So Elder Corbridge is saying there are some members of the church who do this.  When you say that he's wrong are you meaning that there are no members of the church who do this?

I"m saying there aren't any members who are trying to do the process of elimination he is attributing to them.  They are desperately trying to find reason for their faith--not trying to eliminate doubt.  He's misunderstood their intentions, it seems to me.  

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1 hour ago, bluebell said:

Does he actually say that they don't need to know more?  

From the quotes that you've provided, it seems like what he's saying is that there is no good way to deal with the secondary questions until the primary questions are answered.  Getting answers to the primary questions is the pre-requisite required to be able to manage/find answers/deal with the secondary questions.  I don't see him saying that people don't need to care about the secondary questions, but maybe you didn't put that part up.

While a person can disagree (i'm sure most atheists and agnostics would immediately disagree, for example), I don't see that there is anything bad about what he has said, especially not from a faithful/believing perspective.  

The problem being that the answers to the primary questions were weakened after learning the  secondary questions weren't answered correctly or were dishonest. 

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The big problem is anyone can answer in the affirmative to all the primary questions and yet still find him/herself heavily perplexed and anxious about the secondary questions.  You can answer the primaries in the affirmative and jump ship altogether.  He says you can't do that, which is silly.   

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I childhood friend of mine works for the church as basically a business analyst.  He mentioned that in the past few years the church in the United States is starting to see the declines in membership and activity that has been happening internationally for the past decade.  Committees are being formed to address the biggest topics causing disaffection.  This includes a general rebranding to seem more mainstream Christian, lessening time burdens of meetings, home teaching, and Sunday church blocks, and trying to make the church a better home for women and minorities.   Losing the youth is still seen as the biggest problem in the church and the lower missionary age did not help as much as predicted.  Inoculating the youth before they begin to have doubts is seen as a preventative measure. 

One other statistic he mentioned had changed is the benefits of building new temples.  Historically when a new temple is being built they would see inactive members return to the church and the increased tithes would help justify the expense of the building.  Now temples are seen as more of a international missionary opportunity. 

I think we should expect to see many more talks about doubts. Also you'll notice the new term is "anti-Church" and no longer "anti-Mormon". 

 

Phaedrus 

 

 

Edited by phaedrus ut
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8 minutes ago, hope_for_things said:

Even worse than his logic about primary and secondary questions is the way he labels the "gloom" he experiences when reading through antagonistic materials.  

This is an extremely immature approach to engaging with ideas that you might not know about or agree with.  Can you imagine a thoughtful person who is reading materials from different POVs about any subject that they have a strong opinion about, and instead of actually engaging with the material and weighing the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments, the person instead attributes the entire arguments to coming from the devil because it gave them a bad feeling inside.  Honestly, this is the shallow kind of approach that seasoned adults are giving us?  

I remember going through the sensation of feeling everything I read was from Satan when I first started reading discussion boards. It was a very dark feeling but it was because I had been conditioned to believe the church to be true. Before even reading on these forums, I had something pop up on the internet called www.wivesofjosephsmith.org and it was like going through a car wreak, when I first read the list of JS's wives, everything in slow motion, and feeling so strange.

This led to the rabbit hole of unbelief. And then feeling all alone when speaking to a couple of people, my neighbor and my visiting teacher at the time, actually finding out that they didn't believe JS had other wives and they told me it was anti. The neighbor's mom was anti Mormon and she said her mom had told her about it and she wouldn't listen. And then having my visiting teacher say she didn't want to hear another word, because she didn't want to lose her testimony, not making this up. All I was trying to do was find out if they knew, and why hadn't I known beforehand. 

 

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8 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

The big problem is anyone can answer in the affirmative to all the primary questions and yet still find him/herself heavily perplexed and anxious about the secondary questions.  You can answer the primaries in the affirmative and jump ship altogether.  He says you can't do that, which is silly.   

He is not saying you cannot jump ship anyway:

“If you answer the primary questions, the secondary questions get answered too or they pale in significance and you can deal with things you understand and things you don’t understand, things you agree with and things you don’t agree with without jumping ship altogether,” Elder Corbridge said.

That is a very different message from what you are relaying it to be.

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11 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I remember going through the sensation of feeling everything I read was from Satan when I first started reading discussion boards. It was a very dark feeling but it was because I had been conditioned to believe the church to be true. Before even reading on these forums, I had something pop up on the internet called www.wivesofjosephsmith.org and it was like going through a car wreak, when I first read the list of JS's wives, everything in slow motion, and feeling so strange.

This led to the rabbit hole of unbelief. And then feeling all alone when speaking to a couple of people, my neighbor and my visiting teacher at the time, actually finding out that they didn't believe JS had other wives and they told me it was anti. The neighbor's mom was anti Mormon and she said her mom had told her about it and she wouldn't listen. And then having my visiting teacher say she didn't want to hear another word, because she didn't want to lose her testimony, not making this up. All I was trying to do was find out if they knew, and why hadn't I known beforehand. 

 

Thanks, I had similar feelings at first and didn't know how to interpret them.  With patience, these feelings went away and I was able to overcome my fears only through practice and reasoning.  Cultural conditioning is very real.  I still get feelings of anxiety when in new places and I try to use self talk and breathing to calm myself down.  Also, learning about how other cultures experience these same feelings whenever they encounter ideas or behaviors that aren't in alignment with what they are used to, it helped me to understand better what I was experiencing.  Mindfulness has helped a whole lot as well.  

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20 minutes ago, stemelbow said:

The big problem is anyone can answer in the affirmative to all the primary questions and yet still find him/herself heavily perplexed and anxious about the secondary questions.  You can answer the primaries in the affirmative and jump ship altogether.  He says you can't do that, which is silly.   

Sure, you can jump ship.  Speaking of silly, jumping off the one ship that you believe will get you home...   Seems like any anxiety over secondary questions would pale in comparison to the anxiety one would feel about abandoning the ship that they know would get them home.   That is like jumping off the ship into the dark blue ocean, because the stewardess messed up your order. 

Edited by pogi
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