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"Why some people leave the Church"

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5 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

In this LDS teaching, the church sets itself up such that a crack will cause the entire vessel to crumble.

The church had to deal with a lot worse things in the 19th century than today.  Even if the Church membership was to decrease by 50% it still would survive.  There is been a view around for a while that in the last days, a number of people would leave the Church and that is ok.  It is all part of the how things have to be.  People are concerned about climate change these days.  It all fits the last days narrative of what is supposed to happen.  Despite all the negatives, its really is a great time to be alive seeing things pick up in speed.  I look forward to the 2nd coming.  We don't passively sleep walk into Christ return but we have to go through a lot of crap first to get there.  If apostasy along with wars, natural disasters, and other things are part of what has to happen, then so be it. 

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4 hours ago, Walden said:

And this is the simple reason why I left the LDS church, it came down to a matter of integrity for me. After spending a lifetime chasing Moroni's Promise and still having many doubts, concerns, etc. and no testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel, I had no choice but to leave. Staying in the LDS church at some point became detrimental to my mental health/well-being and my sense of integrity. I did not want to leave, I had to leave.

I am a better person, a better husband, father, son, sibling, neighbor and friend since leaving. And no, I did not leave in order to sin without regret. To this day, I still follow the word of wisdom with regard to alcohol and tobacco, I am singularly and utterly devoted in thought and action to my amazing wife and I live an honorable existence.

I am pretty much in the same category.  I was betrayed by promises church leaders gave to me that they claimed came from God.  I have found out that the history of the church including such important narratives of the Frist Vision was not what I had been told.  The church has given many reasons to doubt what I once though was suppose to be the word of God.  And all the social reasons to stay within the church evaporated when those members who I though were friends found out that I was gay.   Of all the friends that I thought I once had in the church, only two ever contacted me once everyone found out I was gay.  So it made it pretty easy to walk away from the social community the church offers for some.

When I was teaching seminary, CES sent me cassette tapes of the Church Education System Symposium specifically given for seminary teachers.   I remember putting one of those tapes in my car cassette player and listening to this talk by   Elder Jeffery R. Holland about the importance of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  .It had a powerful effect on me that I remember to this day. 

 

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To hear someone so remarkable say something so tremendously bold, so overwhelming in its implications, that everything in the Church—everything—rises or falls on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and, by implication, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account of how it came forth, can be a little breathtaking. It sounds like a “sudden death” proposition to me. Either the Book of Mormon is what the Prophet Joseph said it is or this Church and its founder are false, fraudulent, a deception from the first instance onward.

Not everything in life is so black and white, but it seems the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and its keystone role in our belief is exactly that. Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, who, after seeing the Father and the Son, later beheld the angel Moroni, repeatedly heard counsel from his lips, eventually receiving at his hands a set of ancient gold plates which he then translated according to the gift and power of God—or else he did not. And if he did not, in the spirit of President Benson’s comment, he is not entitled to retain even the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction. No, and he is not entitled to be considered a great teacher or a quintessential American prophet or the creator of great wisdom literature. If he lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he is certainly none of those.

 

 

What Elder Holland said floored me. It's a pretty strong statement by someone claiming to be an apostle of God.   I listened to this talk over and over again.  He left no room for middle ground.  Did Joseph Smith really translate the Golden Plates as we had been taught all our lives?  Or did he peep into a hat and look at a rock?  Is the Book of Mormon really a record of God's dealings with a group of Israelites that came from Jerusalem?  Where did these people all go?  Some are able to figure out a way to navigate through these issues.  And I wish them well.  Others can not.  To those I say, God loves and guides each and every one of us.  You don't have to be a member of any organized religion to feel the influence of Gods whisperings and guidance to you.  

I would never encourage someone to leave the church if that is where they believe they belong.  But I also would never fault anyone who finds a different path.  For me, it has been a path closer to God than the one I was on before. 

 

 

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14 hours ago, let’s roll said:

Sincere question.  As someone who describes themself as having “no testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel,” what motives nearly a thousand posts on a site focused on that gospel?

I understand that there are a number of posters on the site who have doubts and some who don’t believe but are interested or curious about LDS and their beliefs, but you don’t seem to fall into either category.

Godspeed to you.

My family is deeply involved in the LDS faith, and has been since our g-g-g grandfather Parley Pratt joined the faith. I still feel the pressure from certain family members to return to the faith, this site gives me an outlet to discuss, debate and analyze faith in a anonymous setting without the hangups involved with family discussion that evolves into misunderstanding and hurt. Regarding faith, I am also a member on a Buddhist/humanist board, so it is something that intrigues me. 

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14 hours ago, Storm Rider said:

Then what is the problem?  It is because of my integrity that I remain an active member of the Church and I know that I am better being active in the Church. 

Frankly, honestly, I could not care less if someone observes the Word of Wisdom. It is a personal choice and has nothing to do with me. 

Exactly Storm Rider, you get the point.....belief or non-belief comes down to a matter of personal integrity. Your personal integrity drives you towards belief. I, on the other hand, side with Nietzsche's maxim that "The will to a system is a lack of integrity."

My point about my adherence to the WoW was in response to the tired yet common Mormon refrain that ex-members leave the church in order to sin.

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On 1/30/2019 at 1:15 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

Your list of horribles inspired me.

De veras, no comprendo.

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6 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

De veras, no comprendo.

Me neither.  My response was purely emotional.

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7 hours ago, Walden said:

Exactly Storm Rider, you get the point.....belief or non-belief comes down to a matter of personal integrity. Your personal integrity drives you towards belief. I, on the other hand, side with Nietzsche's maxim that "The will to a system is a lack of integrity."

My point about my adherence to the WoW was in response to the tired yet common Mormon refrain that ex-members leave the church in order to sin.

Hello Walden, my comment on the WofW was prompted by your statement, but its real motivation comes from years (not much in the last decade or so) of comments about whether someone observes the WofW or not. It used to be that righteousness's first and primary qualifier was the observance of the WofW. The WofW is a temporal law and has no correlation to the Celestial Kingdom. Obedience to the teachings of Christ and his prophets and apostles is what we seek. The WofW, as it is practiced today, is in conflict with scripture (D&C 89), but has been deemed a requirement to enter the temple. If we desire to enter the temple, then obey the WofW. Personal obedience is not the business of anyone else, but the individual and their bishop.

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On 1/30/2019 at 11:44 AM, Tacenda said:

I have read over and over of people saying they never studied Mormonism more than they did when they started questioning and it became an addiction, spending thousands of hours studying websites, books, listening to podcasts etc. I would say the majority of TBM members are like the top half, and maybe the ex'd or dissaffected, or scholarly types would be the second half. Why even the top leaders were unaware of certain situations in our history I've read.

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This is unfortunate.

Growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, I knew dozens of active, faithful LDS scientists, engineers, mathematicians, theoretical physicists, chemists, astrophysicists, geothermal physicists, and others who refute this false stereotype.

One of my parents' best friends and a faithful member, Dr. B. Kent Harrison, for example....

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B. Kent Harrison received his B. S. degree at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1955, where he was valedictorian, and, attending on a fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF), took his M.A. and Ph.D. at Princeton University in 1957 and 1959, respectively. His area of specialty was general relativity (Einstein’s theory of gravitation).

After receiving his doctorate, Prof. Harrison worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for five years and then joined the BYU Physics Department in 1964. (He took a leave at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, for a period after coming to Utah.) At BYU he taught several majors’ and general education courses in physics and also taught Book of Mormon. He supervised the science part of a bachelor’s degree program for adult students who had not previously finished college, acting too as the physics teacher and astronomy teacher in that program. He served as department chair and as a member of several committees and councils, received five NSF grants, was honored with the University’s Alcuin Award for excellence in teaching, and supervised a number of doctoral and master’s degree candidates. A member of the American Physical Society and of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, he retired from BYU in 2000.

Dr. Harrison published approximately fifty papers, most on general relativity and mathematical physics, edited a textbook on physical science, and gave many talks at conferences on five continents. He wrote Ideas and Experiments in Physical Science (2d ed., Dubuque, 2007) for use in general science courses, and, with Kip S. Thorne, Masami Wakano, and John Archibald Wheeler, co-authored Gravitation Theory and Gravitational Collapse (Chicago, 1965). He also authored the chapter “Truth, the Sum of Existence” in David Leigh Clark, ed., Of Heaven and Earth: Reconciling Scientific Thought with LDS Theology (Salt Lake City, 1998).....

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Dr. Harrison has served as a stake missionary, bishop, high councilor, stake clerk, high priests group leader, manager in transient services, teacher in priesthood and Sunday School, cub scout leader, ward organist, and choir director. He is currently an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple and a volunteer in the Edgemont North Stake Family History Center.

You can read his testimony here.  https://www.fairmormon.org/testimonies/scholars/b-kent-harrison

An interesting article he wrote in 2016 in which he discusses the work on black holes and white dwarves with some interesting asides on LDS theology...

http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleHarrisonGravity.html

Kent was my dad's home teaching companion for several years. My dad was a Safeway clerk, but Kent revered my mother and him as another set of parents.

His favorite game was a chess variant he called kriegspiel. Two players each with a board and white and black pieces sit back to back, unable to see the other's board. They play white or black respectively, making their moves without knowing what the opponent is doing. A third player, the referee, has a third board on which he makes the moves of both players. He can give them certain information, such as an illegal move (moving through an opponent's player or moving into check) or being put in check, the possibility of a capture by a pawn, and the removal of lost pieces without disclosing to the capturer which piece was lost other than it was a piece or a pawn. When we played against him, he always won and on reviewing the referee's board, we found he almost always had our pieces in the correct places. He was crazy smart but compassionate and humble. He also championed the cause of abused women and children and co-authored a book about abuse.

https://www.amazon.com/Confronting-Abuse-Anne-L-Horton/dp/0875796370

Edited by Bernard Gui
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20 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

And look how many people are happy, fed, and feel belonging. Far more than the LDS church - despite a far more disciplined and organized missionary/recruiting program.

Not all is peaches and cream in the big box churches, but they do have a good handle on the populist social gospel. Maybe we should incorporate praise bands and coffee shops in our services.

Edited by Bernard Gui

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21 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Fellow PhD here, though in history. I'm interested how you came to realise through applied experience who Joseph Smith was. To me, that sounds like you've extrapolated and are therefore back in the realm of theory. Thanks! :good:

Piled high and deep club?  :)  Applied science nerd here 🖖.  It's easy to turn a blind eye to what you think is exaggerated or misrepresented when your experience is all roses.. it takes the experience to realize quite a bit of the "anti" stuff out there is not an exaggeration.  … by their fruits... I'm not the only one who has tasted sour fruits...and I get it, there are bad apples in everything, and good and bad in everyone.   My new beliefs - I believe most of the religious organizations are perfect enough to take you the first few steps, and also imperfect enough to encourage personal exploration and intellectual freedom.  No need to think for yourself if you have  full confidence in some authority figure somewhere - so give students a flawed answer key to force them to analyze those solutions rather than merely copy them down.  (One of our favorite games to play in class - who can find the mistake in the published solution manual?)

theory.thumb.JPG.01998fb2a0bd5111da801948ce30b6be.JPG

 

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On ‎1‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 11:10 AM, Robert F. Smith said:

One might favor a corrupt system for a time, but it will fail in the long run, just as the Soviet system finally collapsed, just as Nazism ran its course.  The failures are guaranteed by the corruption and contradictions internal to the system.  Any system which is built on an unstable foundation, and which has no self-correcting mechanism(s) will eventually fail, and it may cause horrific damage in the process.  Jordan Peterson sees this as especially true of the totalitarian systems of the 20th century (Marxism and Fascism):  The evidence of failure is there in the body count, over a hundred million dead just because someone was committed to a failed utopian ideology. 

However, to expect a coherent system to be perfect is to court the opposite danger.  One has to ask why the Jews have been so successful in surviving for thousands of years (Lawrence of Arabia referred to them as "the eternal miracle").  Yet they have within their ranks pedophiles, liars, cheats, and thieves aplenty.  They also have a coherent system of religious belief and practice, a powerful sense of community.  They take care of each other.  And they stand for the highest ethical and moral standards known to humankind.  The professionals among them are among the best people to be found anywhere on the planet, and their scientists continually find creative ways to help their fellow humans -- defeat disease, for example. 

It is no accident that the Mormons are also very successful, provide more humanitarian aid per capita than other religions, have a much higher level of educations than most other groups, and provide a much deeper sense of community/ethnicity than most other religions.  That, together with a solid theological base, makes for strong, long-term survival qualities.  One seldom sees that elsewhere, except among the Jews.  The notion of infallibility is a red herring in that context.  For there will be trials, and things will certainly go wrong.  They always do.  But it is a matter of dealing with such challenges effectively that should consume us, rather than jettisoning a good system.

Yes, one has to ask the Jews.... there are many different imperfect systems out there.  I cannot hold any one imperfect system to be better than any other imperfect system.  Hopefully, if there is a God, it is by design - to encourage everyone to study it out on their own by the end of it.

theory2.JPG.8db99d455cfffa1e1aa109a9c39e1756.JPG

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6 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Not all is peaches and cream in the big box churches, but they do have a good handle on the populist social gospel. Maybe we should incorporate praise bands and coffee shops in our services.

Why would bands be bad?  Am I misunderstanding your sarcasm?

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7 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

This is unfortunate.

Growing up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, I knew dozens of active, faithful LDS scientists, engineers, mathematicians, theoretical physicists, chemists, astrophysicists, geothermal physicists, and others who refute this false stereotype.

One of my parents' best friends and a faithful member, Dr. B. Kent Harrison, for example....

You can read his testimony here.  https://www.fairmormon.org/testimonies/scholars/b-kent-harrison

An interesting article he wrote in 2016 in which he discusses the work on black holes and white dwarves with some interesting asides on LDS theology...

http://squaretwo.org/Sq2ArticleHarrisonGravity.html

Kent was my dad's home teaching companion for several years. My dad was a Safeway clerk, but Kent revered him and my mother as another set of parents.

His favorite game was a chess variant he called kriegspiel. Two players each with a board and white and black pieces sit back to back, unable to see the other's board. They play white or black respectively, making their moves without knowing what the opponent is doing. A third player, the referee, has a third board on which he makes the moves of both players. He can give them certain information, such as an illegal move (moving through an opponent's player or moving into check), the possibility of a capture by a pawn, and the removal of lost pieces without disclosing to the capturer which piece was lost other than it was a piece or a pawn. When we played against him, he always won and on reviewing the referee's board, we found he almost always had our pieces in the correct places. He was crazy smart but compassionate and humble. He also championed the cause of abused women and children and co-authored a book about abuse.

https://www.amazon.com/Confronting-Abuse-Anne-L-Horton/dp/0875796370

Thanks!

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1 hour ago, changed said:

Yes, one has to ask the Jews.... there are many different imperfect systems out there.  I cannot hold any one imperfect system to be better than any other imperfect system.  Hopefully, if there is a God, it is by design - to encourage everyone to study it out on their own by the end of it.

theory2.JPG.8db99d455cfffa1e1aa109a9c39e1756.JPG

Yes, and the corollary is also valid:  If there is no Devil, humans will have to invent him to explain evil.  Everyone needs someone to blame, and blame is so easy to lay.  Humans don't like taking responsibility for their own actions.  Jordan Peterson advises the punks among us to take responsibility for themselves rather than constantly whining and crying about their fate.  

 

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45 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yes, and the corollary is also valid:  If there is no Devil, humans will have to invent him to explain evil.  Everyone needs someone to blame, and blame is so easy to lay.  Humans don't like taking responsibility for their own actions.  Jordan Peterson advises the punks among us to take responsibility for themselves rather than constantly whining and crying about their fate.  

I'm not sure how a Jew in the Holocaust is an example of humans not taking responsibility for their own actions?  Are you suggesting that the Jewish people were responsible for what they went through in WW2?

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8 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Not all is peaches and cream in the big box churches, but they do have a good handle on the populist social gospel. Maybe we should incorporate praise bands and coffee shops in our services.

 

Haha - I was looking for a place to host a HAM radio class over spring break (campus is closed), was thinking about the church building as we have hosted mtgs in other church buildings before - then realized the coffee situation would be a problem :(  so we're headed to the fire dept instead.

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On 1/30/2019 at 9:01 AM, Joe said:

Those that have stayed, but don't fit the mold, live double lives. 

In my current calling I have had very intimate conversations with members about their struggles with not living up to the standards. A lot of men view pornography frequently. One guy was viewing the most vile stuff the internet has to offer at night, and working as an ordinance worker in the temple during the day. Many guys I've talked to have crossed the boundary between fantasy and reality, but you'd never know it on Sunday. A lot of these guys are highly respected and looked up to.

 

Yep.  When the "upstanding" bishopric members gets arrested and thrown in jail for producing porn, it comes as quite a shock to all th trusting members whose children have been abused.

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20 hours ago, california boy said:

 Did Joseph Smith really translate the Golden Plates as we had been taught all our lives?  Or did he peep into a hat and look at a rock?

I really see no difference.  On statement is what he did and the other is simply of a methodology of how it was done. 

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6 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Thanks!

Hope you enjoy the info!

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7 hours ago, changed said:

I'm not sure how a Jew in the Holocaust is an example of humans not taking responsibility for their own actions?  Are you suggesting that the Jewish people were responsible for what they went through in WW2?

The Talmud Shavuot 39a says Kol yisrael arevim zeh bazeh, "All of Israel are responsible for one another."  As Jordan Peterson points out (in that video I displayed for you), there is a great deal of suffering in the world.  Pretending it away will be of no avail.  We must all take responsibility for those things which we can control.  We also need to know our limitations (Dirty Harry said that). The least we can do to fight against chaos is to speak up when we are able to.  Unfortunately, when evil shows itself, some people refuse to say anything -- they say that there is a special place reserved in Hell for such as those who fail to speak up.

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On 1/30/2019 at 8:11 AM, changed said:

 

It would be nice if Nelson embraced evolution... 

I guess I am an example of someone who was a temple-going, 100% all-in, calling fulfilling educated TBM (PhD in STEM field).  I didnot leave the church from reading internet sites - theory vs. applied... you can force everything to be good in theory.... it was the applied experience - experience of a pedophile church leader, experience of adulterous HP - then realizing this is who JS was... in theory you can make anything work.  "Trials" - and going through trials with no support, no direction from leadership - fear of leadership - watching leadership protect abusers and turn their backs on victims - that is a different thing than just thinking through the theory...

 

Regarding the applied experience (in this case of a pedophile church leader, experience of adulterous HP- then realizing [based on this theoretical contextualization, rather than any first hand eye-witness or experience], I recall this from Richard Bushman at the Joseph Smith Conference in 2005:

Quote

As you can imagine, the context in which he is placed profoundly affects how people see the Prophet, since the history selected for a subject colors everything about it. Is he a money-digger like hundreds of other superstitious Yankees in his day, a religious fanatic like Muhammad was thought to be in Joseph’s time, a prophet like Moses, a religious revolutionary like Jesus? To a large extent, Joseph Smith assumes the character of the history selected for him. The broader the historical context, the greater the appreciation of the man. If Joseph Smith is described as the product of strictly local circumstances—the culture of the Burned-over District, for example—he will be considered a lesser figure than if put in the context of Muhammad or Moses. Historians who have been impressed with Joseph Smith’s potency, whether for good or ill, have located him in a longer, more universal history. Those who see him as merely a colorful character go no farther than his immediate environment for context. No historians eliminate the local from their explanations, but, on the whole, those who value his genius or his influence, whether critics or believers, give him a broader history as well. I want to talk first about the way historians have sought the Prophet’s larger meaning by assigning him a history, and then examine the histories to which Joseph Smith attached himself.

https://byustudies.byu.edu/content/joseph-smiths-many-histories

I have occasional mentioned that Catholic scholar John McDade made exactly the same point about how different scholars contextualize Jesus.

Quote

There is then a radical dependence between the reconstructed Jesus and the reconstructed context/model: how the context and social model are understood determines how Jesus is understood.  ‘Determines’ is not too strong a word, for one of the problems with this approach is that the grid of social and economic context is such a strong factor it can inhibit responsible handling of the actual textual evidence we have for Jesus.

John McDade

Jesus In Recent Research

 

Catholic Theological Association Conference 1998, published in The Month (December 1998), 495-505

The point is that the "realization" can be easily accounted for as the product of that kind of characterization.  So the question is, what makes this the best, most telling, context, the proper most telling seed and soil into which to plant the seed, and which produces the most bountiful harvest?   Does it define a range of testable and significant puzzles?  Does it make accurate predictions?  Is is comprehensive and coherent?  Is it fruitful, accounting for a great many things that we other wise would not see?  Is it simple and aesthetically pleasing?  Does it hold future promise?

 

Or is it just a convenient place to stand and apply leverage to move something out of the way?

 

Paradigm choice always involves a decision about "Which problems are more significant to have solved?" as well as "Which paradigm is better?"  And better for what purpose?   That is demonstrated in a significant measure by the ways we define and measure better.

 

This is one of the way I measured Joseph Smith.

 

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Biblical_Keys_for_Discerning_True_and_False_Prophets

 

It's different.  Focuses my attention in different ways, produces a different set of concerns and tests. 

 

FWIW

 

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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15 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I really see no difference.  On statement is what he did and the other is simply of a methodology of how it was done. 

Like I said.  Some people are able to navigate through some of these issues.  Others are not.  They look at all of the paintings the church commissioned with Joseph actually using the Gold Plates to translate and find those representations deceiving as to what actually took place.   They ask themselves, would a church of God use deceit in portraying its history?  For them, the answer is no and they leave.  For you, you don't consider it deceitful, so you stay and continue in your belief.  No one should fault either group.

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On 1/28/2019 at 7:47 PM, Storm Rider said:

Skimming the article, I got the feeling that I agree with him. The moral relativism and moral decline has led and continues to lead individuals away from Christ and into heresy. I don't think they necessarily become moral degenerates, but they tolerate sin as an appropriate choice. In effect, they enjoy living amongst the wolves and often join in as the wolves attack the saints and those other Christians that seek after Christ. 

Or rather people use their critical thinking skills and determine the evidence demonstrates that the church is not likely what it claims. They also come to understand that living their lives by a book that is thousands of years old and written by a culture and people far different in values and reason and enlightenment then where we are today is a poor way to live their lives. Perhaps they fins religion in general does not stand the scrutiny of the scientific method and that the god of the gaps becomes increasingly smaller.  

I briefly skimmed the article and found it the typical accusations that help the believer preserve their testimony rather than rigorously evaluating and testing their beliefs.

Just like yous post above does.  It is flat out offensive to say someone who once was as strong a believer as you, who after spending time honestly and thoughtfully evaluating their faith and beliefs and by so doing leaves the church, is simply someone who enjoys living amonsgst the wolves, etc. 

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On 1/28/2019 at 11:27 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Yep.  He has his enemies list and he's checking it twice.  And he is wrong about why people leave the LDS faith.  The reasons are seldom doctrinal, and most of those leaving were always marginal members anyhow.  That is what scientific study discloses.  Only a small minority leave after closely examining the LDS faith.

.

Do you have stats to back this up?

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27 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Or rather people use their critical thinking skills and determine the evidence demonstrates that the church is not likely what it claims. They also come to understand that living their lives by a book that is thousands of years old and written by a culture and people far different in values and reason and enlightenment then where we are today is a poor way to live their lives. Perhaps they fins religion in general does not stand the scrutiny of the scientific method and that the god of the gaps becomes increasingly smaller.  

I briefly skimmed the article and found it the typical accusations that help the believer preserve their testimony rather than rigorously evaluating and testing their beliefs.

Just like yous post above does.  It is flat out offensive to say someone who once was as strong a believer as you, who after spending time honestly and thoughtfully evaluating their faith and beliefs and by so doing leaves the church, is simply someone who enjoys living amonsgst the wolves, etc. 

I think you are saying that they have a towering intellect incapable of being bamboozled by nonsense. Nothing offensive there. 

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