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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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5 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Not much of that is very helpful when actually dealing with a member who is experiencing a real faith crisis.  Telling them their issues are on "secondary issues" isn't going to help much and will probably just cause more harm and pain.  Your nice sounding words are pretty empty to someone who is really struggling with very real issues.

I'll stand as a witness that it does cause me more harm and pain.

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

I don't think it's their fault and I don't think it's the church's fault.  I don't think either party did anything wrong.

I had a companion on my mission that had grown up in the church that honestly didn't know we believed in deification.  It was a huge shock to her when I shared the Snow couplet with her to support something a Lutheran minister had told her about our beliefs.  I wouldn't say it was her fault that she didn't know because that implies that she had done something wrong and I don't think she did.  Somehow, along the way, she just never caught on or understood that particular doctrine.  But the church was teaching it, even if she never realized it, so it wasn't the church's fault either.  

Even when the church spends a fair amount of time on a subject, people still miss them sometimes.  This is even more true when it comes to periphery subjects (such as the number of first vision accounts) that are not taught very often at all.  When it comes to the first vision accounts, I don't blame the church for not spending a lot of time on something it didn't seem to view as that doctrinally significant and I don't blame members for not being aware of it.

I really can't answer that because I don't know.  I have friends who were surprised by the different accounts, studied them, and found no cause for alarm and then I have two friends who found out about them, didn't study them themselves but read a lot of very critical writings about what the different accounts meant, and left the church (and became hostile towards it.  One isn't even my friend anymore, though the other and I are still going strong thankfully).  It's just anecdotal and that's really all I know. 

I think I can relate well with the friend that read a lot of very critical writings. When I first stumbled across all of JS's wives, I hadn't read into their ages, or the ones that were married. And I didn't suffer a crisis at first. I just felt like I'd been in an accident where everything was in slow motion and I remember the details of the aftermath so clearly.

But once I saw the information on other sites come up, the first being John Dehlin's video on why members lose their faith in the church, it led to a ton of things I didn't know about. And I even went on FairMormon and discussed things with Greg Smith and I still have our emails that we sent each other for proof, lol.

And I read some of Todd Compton's book and some of Fawn Brodie's book, along with Nibley's book that cross examines her book. And then a ton of books of those that escaped the FLDS group and those that suffered abuse. Well the list goes on and on.

If I hadn't gone down the rabbit hole I'd still believe, if it stopped with JS's wives, come to think of it. I think I could have made it work. But what happened is that just like playing Jenga (I saw this analogy somewhere recently) each piece taken makes the foundation shakier and shakier. And there is so much, I don't need to tell you, that the holes bulldoze through. 

Edited by Tacenda

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7 minutes ago, rockpond said:

So, it's my fault that, as 38 year old lifelong member, BYU grad, and early morning seminary teacher that I didn't know that JS had written/dictated four different accounts of his First Vision that contradicted one another?  I wasn't studying enough?  I have no right to feel that the Church leaders should have taught this to me in all the thousands of hours I had given to them?

That's not what I said nor what I believe in the least. I think Bluebell said it well that "guilt" really isn't the issue. But to turn it around, what responsibility do we have in our personal study for things? Again, calling it fault or guilt seems wrong. But if it's regularly in the Ensign and on the main lds.org pages, hasn't the Church made it available?

The presumption of some here seems to be that the Church should emphasize even for those who never do personal study (not saying you) every potential element for a faith crisis. I confess that seems nuts to me. And I say that as a long term advocate of the inoculation strategy going back decades.

I definitely think the Church can do more. As I said I rather like what some Stakes have done and made some of these issues topics for 5th Sundays. I think the Church desperately needs new Institute Manuals that address all these controversial topics as part of going through the history and scriptures. Not just the LDS history issues (polygamy, First Vision, seer stones, Masonry, etc.) but also Biblical history since it's really secular critics in general that are raising such things. I meet at least as many people put off by topics like evolution or questions about historicity as I do LDS history.

The reality is though that some of the topics are complex. Contextualizing them is sometimes hard. Most members are knowledgeable enough to do this, making teaching it at the ward level extremely difficult. I can certainly appreciate the problem but am glad I'm not the one tasked with solving it. My guess is that retention will go down somewhat but that as people get used to the topics it'll bounce back up. We're just in the transitionary period which will be somewhat painful.

Edited by clarkgoble
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1 minute ago, clarkgoble said:

That's not what I said. I think Bluebell said it well that "guilt" really isn't the issue. But to turn it around, what responsibility do we have in our personal study for things? Again, calling it fault or guilt seems wrong. But if it's regularly in the Ensign and on the main lds.org pages, hasn't the Church made it available?

The presumption of some here seems to be that the Church should emphasize even for those who never do personal study (not saying you) every potential element for a faith crisis. I confess that seems nuts to me. And I say that as a long term advocate of the inoculation strategy going back decades.

Interestingly, it was my personal study that destroyed my testimony... when I went in depth outside of the curriculum.

I disagree that the differing First Vision accounts were published regularly in the Ensign.  CFR.  In this thread, a 1985 article and a 1996 article have been identified but neither provided the text of the differing FV accounts.  Prior to the publishing of the Gospel Topic Essay, where would I have found the text of the First Vision accounts?

I'm not suggesting that the Church should emphasize "every potential element for a faith crisis".  What I am suggesting is that if the Church had always taught from all four JS FV accounts, nobody today would be having a faith crisis triggered by the discovery of the different accounts.  Instead, the Brethren chose to favor one at the expense of the others and now we are dealing with the consequences.

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54 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Further over the years the different versions of the First Vision were discussed in Conference talks.

I'm interested in reading those talks.  Do you have references for them?

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12 minutes ago, rockpond said:

In my world these issues are tearing families apart and causing a lot of heartache.  Much of that could have been resolved or diminished had the church approached this differently. 

I agree that much could have been done to diminish the impact of this specific issue, but I don't think that that would stop families from being torn a part or suffering heartache.  I think it would just be a different issue so I don't know that much would actually be different right now even if this problem had been approached differently.

Quote

So, yes, I see receiving guidance that would help preserve families as something that should be part of the role of a prophet, seer, and revelator.  The pain and trauma coming from not just the issues but how it is being handled by the church is immense for some of us.

From my perspective, even if this issue wasn't a problem for anyone in the church, devastating trials of faith would still be happening.  I think this is because preserving families by preventing all trials of faith isn't part of the role of a prophet, seer, and revelator.     

 

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1 minute ago, bluebell said:

I agree that much could have been done to diminish the impact of this specific issue, but I don't think that that would stop families from being torn a part or suffering heartache.  I think it would just be a different issue so I don't know that much would actually be different right now even if this problem had been approached differently.

From my perspective, even if this issue wasn't a problem for anyone in the church, devastating trials of faith would still be happening.  I think this is because preserving families by preventing all trials of faith isn't part of the role of a prophet, seer, and revelator.     

 

I don't think that preventing all trials of faith is part of the role of a prophet, seer, and revelator.

However, this particular trial of faith was caused by the decisions and teachings of prophets, seers, and revelators.  They could have taught from all four FV accounts.  They didn't.  They chose one at the exclusion of the others and that has become a cause for many to lose faith.

But I agree, that's just one issue among many.

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39 minutes ago, rockpond said:

An article in 1985... I was 15, not really an Ensign reader back then.  Another in 1996... 26 and in college, I don't know if I had a subscription at that time.  Is that regularly?  Neither featured the full text of the different accounts.  But, technically, yes, if a member had been reading every page of every Ensign, they should have known.

I don't think they had to read every page, but at least have seen the main titles. And I'm speaking of life prior to the rise of the internet. So we're both of around the same age. Ensigns were pretty heavily pushed.

The new LDS search portal really sucks and doesn't list dates. But I see full articles either only dealing with the FV accounts or discussing the multiple accounts in pasing from the earlier era (prior to 2013) in 2007, 2005, 1996, 1992, 1990, 1985, and two in 1986. That's assuming one only reads the Ensign and doesn't read any outside resource as there were a ton discussing the First Vision accounts. (Our ward library had Backman's book on it in the 80's) Even acknowledging that many of those don't quote differences, they'd let people know there were multiple versions that related different details. 

Again, I think the Church should have done more on the topic, but then speaking only personally I don't see a big deal about the differences especially compared to say the differences between multiple accounts in the NT or even OT. I recognize the average lay member is not going to understand why multiple tellings aren't all the same, even though that ubiquitous with retellings until the narrative becomes fixed.

I also fully admit my own bias having grown up in the mission field where nearly everyone encountered pretty much every anti-Mormon argument at one time or an other. So we simply were much more familiar with such things than I suspect people in heavy Mormon areas were.

39 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I disagree that there has been much emphasis on the differing accounts in addresses to the general membership.  I don't believe it was in the curriculum until about 5 years ago, if that.

I addressed that earlier. It appears to go back to 2011 or 2013 at the latest. In the curriculum it was there before, although as I mentioned it unfortunately wasn't in the Joseph Smith manual in 2011. But certainly within the last 5 years it's become much more heavily pushed.

39 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I disagree that he Gospel Topics Essays have ever been "heavily pushed".

The "Church History page"?  Prominent pushing of JSP?

They sure have seen pushed from my perspective. The Church History link has been prominent on the landing page for years. Clicking on it brings up tons of blog-like posts on history topics and an ability to search them. Again I don't like the current site redesign, but it really has been prominent. And the Joseph Smith Papers was prominent on the landing page when launched and with significant updates. It's also pushed on The Mormon Channel, by the Newsroom, and so forth. Do a search for "Joseph Smith Papers" and you'll find a lot. They also pushed it regularly in the Ensign. Most manuals now link to them.

17 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I'm interested in reading those talks.  Do you have references for them?

It's an easy search away. They don't focus on them but they definitely use them. 

Edited by clarkgoble
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1 hour ago, ALarson said:

Possibly.  Do you believe he would give different advise if it was another loved one having a crisis of faith (other than a spouse)?  That he would recommend researching the difficult church history issues and doctrines so there could be a discussion about them?

Most members who I've seen go through a crisis have wanted to have someone who they can talk to about their issues and questions.  

It would depend on the level of relationship, imo. If one is in daily contact with someone and that someone is dependent with you for emotionally stability (I don’t think we can fix people by ourselves, but unfortunately we can destroy them through abuse), you need to approach potentially contentious subjects differently than you would when a more casual, even if close relationship. 

I will discuss politics differently with my son than my daughter because he has his own home and has control over taking a step back from the relationship if he thinks he needs to cool off. My daughter lives with me and if we get angry at each other, it is more life impacting than my son. 

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17 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

It's an easy search away. They don't focus on them but they definitely use them. 

I've been trying to search for any talks from "over the years" that "the different versions of the First Vision were discussed" in conference.

Maybe I'm not searching correctly or in the right place?

So, I'm just going to issue you a friendly CFR and see what you're referring to.  Thanks in advance!

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1 hour ago, Kate said:

That's what I'm saying...all this speculation. You really think Church News gives you the whole context of a talk? ...Mostly highlights, and that is from the ears and understanding of the person reporting. I choose not to share my perspective because I haven't heard the talk...just like everyone else here has not. 

It’s not all speculation, we have quotes and a report by a friendly source in the church news which I think we can have some level of confidence is attempting to accurately represent the spirit of the message.  If the full transcript is produced at a later date that will be even better, but what we have right now offers enough insight for a healthy discussion.  

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1 hour ago, CV75 said:

Hopefully I’ve clarified what the counsel means to me and how I would approach something if I had a issue with it.

Yes, I think I understand better for sure.  It’s somewhat foreign to me though, as I approached things differently as an orthodox member, and very different that how I approach things today.  

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20 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

How are people not tolerant of LDS doctrine?  Are people advocating laws to restrict LDS freedom, live prop 8?  Give me an example where LDS people are being persecuted for their beliefs in modern society?

I did not say that LDS people are being persecuted for their beliefs. A persistent bias against "Mormonism" though is well documented.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/11/the-ignorance-of-mocking-mormonism/545975/

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1956386/posts

If you have not done so, just do a bit of research. I have always lived in areas where the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have been very much in the minority and have witnessed that bias first hand. To be fair it was not always widespread and members of the Seventh Day Adventist congregations also faced the same type of bias.

Now, if you will go back to the original statement, you will note that it says "Additionally, many members — “and you are surely among them” — live in areas where they are a small minority. Each day they associate, and are sometimes governed by, persons who have “radically different” beliefs and standards." I do not think that President Oaks was just talking about the U.S.

21 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

This sounds awfully close to brain washing to me.  D&C 121 explicitly calls for persuasion as the primary mechanism of the Priesthood.  If secular arguments are persuasive perhaps it’s because they are oftentimes much better than the religious argument.  Truth should be the aim, not allegiance to aging dogma. Joseph said as much on multiple occasions.

I do not believe that you are characterizing my response fairly or accurately. I will quote again what I was referring to from President Oaks talk.

Quote

“But the best answer to any question that threatens faith is to work to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church. And conversion to the Lord comes through prayer and study and service, furthered by loving patience on the part of spouse and other concerned family members.”

Now, I do not see how prayer, study, and service can be brainwashing.

I do not know what the actual percentages may be, but there are very few people that are equipped by their educational levels and areas of expertise to understand the ongoing arguments about things like how the universe came to be and the origins of life, et cetera. So, a person has to be well grounded in their own faith, by prayer, study, and service else they will wind up like you. I do not mean that to be personal or offensive, but you seem to have lost your faith because of things that you have learned from the secular world which have overwhelmed the things you learned spiritually.

Glenn

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1 hour ago, clarkgoble said:

I think the Church desperately needs new Institute Manuals that address all these controversial topics as part of going through the history and scriptures. Not just the LDS history issues (polygamy, First Vision, seer stones, Masonry, etc.) but also Biblical history since it's really secular critics in general that are raising such things. I meet at least as many people put off by topics like evolution or questions about historicity as I do LDS history.

Just my .02, but I think that Biblical history would be a disaster for the church. 

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3 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

Another possibility (something that I face) is that people are beginning to question the value of church at all.  How does doing what is expected of a “good Mormon” make one’s life better?

Well for starters, it provides the opportunity to link in with omniscient and omnipotent beings who love you and are willing to share.  I’ve found that’s made my life better.  

Of course that opportunity isn’t unique to members, but the Church does assist in learning how to link in.

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3 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

meet at least as many people put off by topics like evolution or questions about historicity as I do LDS history.

Evolution was a huge issue imo for my age/peer group.  Also the flood.  Whether or not Jesus existed was debated as well.  They were the issues that were accessible to everyone back then (70s and 80s).  Now the internet has opened up accessibility to early LDS history as easy as biblical history.  I don't have numbers nor do I associate with the same age groups as I did back then, but much of the discussion sounds the same to me in terms of expectations and methodology.

Edited by Calm
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2 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

And I'm speaking of life prior to the rise of the internet. So we're both of around the same age. Ensigns were pretty heavily pushed

I remember being told by multiple people they never wanted to be called to run the magazine drive, whose goal in the wards I was in was to get the Ensign in every household (and youth magazines where appropriate). Very similar to Friends of Scouting drives. It was common to gift new converts or family members with subscriptions.

Edited by Calm
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4 minutes ago, Calm said:

Evolution was a huge issue imo for my age/peer group.  Whether or not Jesus existed was debated as well.  They were the issues that were accessible to everyone back then (70s and 80s).  Now the internet has opened up accessibility to early LDS history as easy as biblical history.  I don't have numbers nor do I associate with the same age groups as I did back then, but much of the discussion sounds the same to me in terms of expectations and methodology.

I was totally against evolution or the thought that man evolved from apes anyhow, growing up. Don't know what to think of it still.

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2 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

It’s not all speculation, we have quotes and a report by a friendly source in the church news which I think we can have some level of confidence is attempting to accurately represent the spirit of the message.  If the full transcript is produced at a later date that will be even better, but what we have right now offers enough insight for a healthy discussion.  

My goodness...you have a quote that is a fragmented part of a whole thought...Please look again...it ends in a comma. You have absolutely no clue as to what was after the comma. I need not say any more...I think people just like to find fault. Period.

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18 minutes ago, Kate said:

My goodness...you have a quote that is a fragmented part of a whole thought...Please look again...it ends in a comma. You have absolutely no clue as to what was after the comma. I need not say any more...I think people just like to find fault. Period.

And what are you doing?

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5 hours ago, rockpond said:

The Brethren have no lack of ability to teach that which they want taught:  They define the Sunday curriculum and give hours of conference addresses each year.  They have massive publishing and media capabilities.  If they truly wanted all members to know of the four First Vision accounts, we'd know.

I have been attending church nearly every Sunday (sickness and travel excepted) for 48 years.  The only lessons I've ever heard on the different First Vision accounts are the two that I gave.

This has largely been my experience.  As a seminary graduate, BYU graduate, returned missionary, and an active member for many decades,  I do not remember ever hearing or being present in a lesson where multiple accounts or the first vision were discussed.   The articles from the Ensign and BYU referenced in this thread do not go into much detail of the fundamental differences between these accounts.   It is clear that this is information the church did not emphasize.  It is not my place to attempt to assign a motive to this, but one thing is certain, and that is the church is now dealing with the consequences of being less that forthright in the presentations of it's history.  Conversion numbers are down, and membership retention is a serious issue.  Gone are the days when you could deal with uncomfortable  issues by locking up an historical document, like the 1832 first vision account in your private safe.  With the internet, the power of information is at everyone's fingertips.  Fact checking can happen almost instantly. 

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4 hours ago, ALarson said:

I've been trying to search for any talks from "over the years" that "the different versions of the First Vision were discussed" in conference.

Maybe I'm not searching correctly or in the right place?

So, I'm just going to issue you a friendly CFR and see what you're referring to.  Thanks in advance!

This list I was remembering included GA talks outside of General Conference. So I was misremembering. While there were a couple allusions the only formal engagement in Conference was Ian Ardern's "Seek Ye Out of the Best Books" "The home is an ideal place for families to study and share valuable insights from the scriptures and the words of the prophets and to access Church material at LDS.org. There you will find an abundance of information about gospel topics such as the First Vision accounts. As we study from the best books, we protect ourselves against the menacing jaws of those that seek to gnaw at our spiritual roots."

That's from 2017 so too late for the argument though.

However some of the talks were First Presidency messages and so read and given by everyone doing their Home Teaching or Visiting Teaching. So we have President Hinckley's "God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear." 

  • I am not worried that the Prophet Joseph Smith gave a number of versions of the first vision anymore than I am worried that there are four different writers of the gospels in the New Testament, each with his own perceptions, each telling the events to meet his own purpose for writing at the time.

That's in the 80's as well.

But mea culpa on conflating Conference with GAs.

3 hours ago, CA Steve said:

Just my .02, but I think that Biblical history would be a disaster for the church. 

I don't know if it'd be a disaster, but so much preparation would be necessary, much as with the controversial history, that it seems difficult to do well. I suspect well meaning people would muddle it up and make things worse.

However I also think that Packer's view in the 70's through 90's of protecting weak testimonies doesn't work. (I'm not convinced it was wise even then) What tends to happen is that the odd and unfamiliar get emotionally treated as a huge problem. Even though the things people are familiar with, which may be much weirder and stranger aren't. It's an odd feature of human psychology. Getting back to the Original Post I think that what Elder Oaks counsels is wise. You need to get a testimony. If you have a strong testimony, particularly one born out of prayer, then these things won't bother you. As I said that's certainly what I found on my mission.

4 hours ago, rockpond said:

I disagree that the differing First Vision accounts were published regularly in the Ensign.  CFR.  In this thread, a 1985 article and a 1996 article have been identified but neither provided the text of the differing FV accounts.  Prior to the publishing of the Gospel Topic Essay, where would I have found the text of the First Vision accounts?

I'm not suggesting that the Church should emphasize "every potential element for a faith crisis".  What I am suggesting is that if the Church had always taught from all four JS FV accounts, nobody today would be having a faith crisis triggered by the discovery of the different accounts.  Instead, the Brethren chose to favor one at the expense of the others and now we are dealing with the consequences.

I certainly agree the Church would have been much better off teaching regularly from all accounts. They do pop up occasionally but not as often as they should have. I suspect though that people who have a faith crisis based upon four accounts that really don't vary much would still find something to have a faith crisis about. I mean that's one of the milder issues.

BTW - I listed several years of accounts earlier. But you're right most of them don't have the full texts. Although those curious could look up the books mentioned which were available from Deseret Books. As I mentioned when I was growing up they were in the Ward library.

The point about having the full text is good, except that you could by the late 90's look them all up online. So if you ask, "what's in the accounts?" it was trivial to find. Also the 1996 Ensign article contains a lot of the accounts as well as pretty well all of the 1832 account. It also addresses the major differences including not mentioned two beings in 1832. The 1984 article also contains all the 1832 version. While the Joseph Smith manual for Priesthood didn't include the texts in the chapter on the First Vision it did include the full 1832 text.  

Edited by clarkgoble
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5 hours ago, california boy said:

Everyone seems to be in agreement that the current inoculating approach is a good thing.  But aren't millennials leaving the church in record numbers?  Does anyone think that possibly they are simply questioning many of the foundational claims the church makes because of these multiple first vision accounts, Joseph marrying other men's wives, the Book of Mormon coming forth through looking at a stone in a hat, the Book of Abraham having nothing to do with the scrolls that could not have possibly been written by Abraham himself, etc?  

Just curious how those that are teaching the youth feel these stories are being received.  I personally have no idea.  Having taught seminary for a number of years, I know I would find it tough to expect all students to just nod their head and take it as no big deal.  Maybe this should be another thread and is too far off track.  

My take on this is that there are logical, simple, and straight forward answers to the types of questions that you are referencing. The problem is (for the church) these answers are not anywhere close to being faith promoting.  

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9 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

I should be accountable for all I do and say. Whether or not someone makes me look bad is out of my control. I’ll admit that I’m human, and apologize or clarify if needed.

I didn’t realize church meetings are private. Maybe we should remove those “visitors welcome” signs.

Never mind 

Edited by Bernard Gui

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18 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Clark,

You're a fair guy, but this is silly. The church encourages study ...but not research. :) 

Yes, the last 10 years information has become available and the church is now playing catch up. This info is now accessible and that is why people are finding it, often times before the church is/was willing to acknowledge the issue or write essays to address it. I am not a historian or a scholar, but I have faithfully read my scriptures, attended all lessons and meetings, and read many additional church books, all without having found any of the information that has become so readily available in the past 10 years.

Kevin, it doesn't sound like my scenario really applied to you then, did it? You were already a late teen when the 1970 article came out, you were an adult when the next article came out in the 80's and were even an older adult when the next article came out in the 90's so you would have naturally been in a better position to hear about this. I honestly feel that there is a generation that this information hits particularly hard precisely because of the timing. It wasn't available when we were young and now that it is the church has to come to grips with the fact that it did a poor job of teaching us. Blame the student and defend the teacher if you choose. You can call us lumps if you want, but that just illustrates your lack of compassion. You seem to have been successful in doing a significant amount of personal research, but I wonder if Pres. Oaks would have approved ;)  Your example illustrates that information was available to you long ago, and because you were aware you sought out more info. That's great. But you never really answered my question about how someone of the age I described would have become aware of the issues via church sources. IMO it would be the very rare case, and based on the negative effect on the church I'm seeing, it not only effects my generation particularly badly but also my children's since they were taught by parents who were largely left in the dark about this stuff.

And you left off the obvious 3rd answer for why someone didn't tell you something...3- They purposely decided not to share it with you. Whether they thought they were doing you a favor or not is immaterial, they may have simply decided that you didn't need to know, therefore they didn't tell you.

It's a very weak position to be in to say that a teacher didn't teach you something but you should have known. Example- the first time I took the ACT I got to a section in Math that asked a number of questions about graphing. Seems reasonable, right. Well, at that point I hadn't learned that AND the ACT prep Math class I took never addressed it either. So obviously I was to blame for not knowing something that my Math class failed to even acknowledge. Admittedly, I place some trust in teachers to adequately teach. When they don't, I lose trust. Seems reasonable to me.

We all start out ignorant.  My point is that the it's not just the information available that makes the difference.  It's the processing, soil, seed, time and nurture.   One person may say, upon encountering information for which they were not prepared, "I've feel betrayed and lied to by people I trusted."  Another, may say, "Oh, that is interesting.  I did not know that.  I wonder where I can go to find out more?"  Same seed, different soil.  And different harvest.  Jesus gives the bread of life sermon.  Some say, "This is a hard saying. Who can hear it?"  and leave.  Others say, despite uncertainties and open questions, "Where shall we go?  Thou has the words of eternal life."

My lack of compassion? 

Thomas Kuhn explains that "anomaly emerges against a background of expectation."   I have noticed that whenever I ran across something I did not expect, I have taken the time to ask, "What should I expect?"  And that is one of the reasons I have been posting D&C 1:24-28 several times a year for decades.

Regarding #3- "They purposely decided not to share it with you."  I've met my teachers and leaders.  I've been in classes, houses, and interacted.  I've seen bookshelves.  I've done so in dozens of wards across most of the US, 24 different wards and branches in England, and a few in Canada.   They did not know, and I did not even know to ask is much more accurate.

I've also considered Myers Briggs Personality Types, and the Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth.  They have cast more light on human behavior than supposing a conscious conspiracy to deceive.  Bishops and Stake Presidents and Sunday School teachers do not have training in "Things the Rabble Are Not Meant to Know."   They come as they are, and most that I have known, don't know much more than is in the manuals.  It would be nice if the manuals were better.  However, would I personally be better off if I believed in my heart of hearts that all I need to do is sit and listen in regularly scheduled meetings and I will be informed in all things and prepared in all things and that I can trust that my leaders have it all on the shelf and all I need to is sit and take it in?   It seems to me that the pedagogical lesson in any disappointments is that I need to seek and ask on my own.  And pushing that lesson is more compassionate than joining with those who primarily want to share and bond over grievance and resentment.

And I've learned from addiction recovery that one of the most important steps to take in healing from trauma is to "re-frame one's self as a survivor, rather than a victim."  I think that helping answer questions and modeling alternative approaches is more compassionate and healing than consciously or unconsciously encouraging perpetual victimhood.  Part of recovery is "dismantling the grievance story.  I could describe how I felt when I discovered that after spending up to 16 hours a week in LDS sponsored activities I was unprepared to handle questions being tossed at me by English Middle schoolers passing around their first anti-Mormon pamphlets.   As a consequence, I decided that if I wanted to be better prepared, I had to do the study myself.  I later met a man in his thirties who has been so traumatized by his faith shattering encounter with the Tanners that just talking with me re-triggered his trauma.  After he loaned me, "The Changing World of Mormonism, and I read it without being bothered (I had prepared myself), he asked, "How can you know what you know and believe what you believe?"

I've published around 3 dozen articles over the years as part of my answering that question.   I think it is a very good question, worth my best efforts.

A big part of social discourse involves "controlling the narrative."   I don't think the victim-hood narrative ought to dominate.  I think it spiritually and socially unhealthy.   That is, I resist out of concern and compassion and empathy.

FWIW

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

 

Edited by Kevin Christensen
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