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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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43 minutes ago, Calm said:

I am not that fond of this instance, but in general I think the experience of learning is often more important than what is being taught. Having said that, it is not always done right. 

Think how it is important for parents to take kids for one on ones or teachers not having huge groups when younger students, mentoring, etc. 

While more personal teaching can have greater emotional effects, these can be negative as well as positive, of course. 

I completely agree.

 

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On 2/5/2019 at 12:48 PM, bluebell said:

So, if we want to stick only with what Oaks actually said then we must acknowledge that he was speaking about a very specific situation and it would be wrong to try to apply his advice outside of that scope. 

Except members are taught to apply the scriptures outside of their scope. How many times has D&C 9:7-9 been used to teach about study and prayer? Yet this was a response to a very specific situation. Oliver wanted to translate.

On 2/5/2019 at 12:48 PM, bluebell said:

The only situation that we can apply his words to (if we want to stick with what he did state, as you said we should) is one where there is 1) one spouse who has become inactive over doctrinal issues and 2) a spouse wants to know how best to research and respond to those issues.  Only when those two things have occurred can we apply his response that 3) research is not the answer.

In that specific situation I can't see how research could not be part of the answer. It seems to me that the believing spouse would need to verify that the spouse with the faith crisis is at least using factual information.

On 2/5/2019 at 12:48 PM, bluebell said:

If we are sticking only with what Oaks said, is it fair to broaden his words to more situations than the one he specifically is speaking of?

I believe that it would be appropriate to broaden his words to any believer that has a personal relationship with someone who is in a faith crisis. In any case I can't see how research can't be part of the answer.

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2 hours ago, Thinking said:

Except members are taught to apply the scriptures outside of their scope. How many times has D&C 9:7-9 been used to teach about study and prayer? Yet this was a response to a very specific situation. Oliver wanted to translate.

In that specific situation I can't see how research could not be part of the answer. It seems to me that the believing spouse would need to verify that the spouse with the faith crisis is at least using factual information.

I believe that it would be appropriate to broaden his words to any believer that has a personal relationship with someone who is in a faith crisis. In any case I can't see how research can't be part of the answer.

While it could be argued, as Bluebell is doing, that Pres. Oaks words apply only to that specific situation; when we bundle his message with other recent addresses on the same topic (Elder/Sister Renlund, Elder Corbridge) we see a common theme emerge.   The theme is to turn your efforts away from deeper research and back towards more of a faith-based approach.  This makes sense because researching the issues (ie Elder Corbridge’s list) is unlikely to lead one to answers that will be faith affirming.  I think our leaders are realizing that and so we’re seeing this direction to focus on strengthening your testimony of the basics, trusting the church leaders, and believing that what you know already is enough. 

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3 hours ago, Thinking said:

It seems to me that the believing spouse would need to verify that the spouse with the faith crisis is at least using factual information.

I have read of situations and have had one with a close relative where if the spouse told the other they have done or intend to check the accuracy of the claims the now doubter is making, this has caused conflict, at times intense. Apparently the last thing the one having a faith crisis can handle is being questioned about their interpretation (in these specific cases, have no clue what kind of percentage they might be, hopefully low; in the case of my relative, doubt in the Church was along side other personal issues where it appears the best/safest for all involved approach was to give lots of space and limit interaction until the doubter resolved it for themselves...and yes, that seemed extremely counterproductive to me and everyone else in the family, but not like my opinion changed the way they felt or their need.

And there have been spouses that have described themselves as just not able to deal with research at the same time as dealing with the changes in their relationship. 

I would hope eventually every spouse will do research to place the other’s new beliefs in a greater context as opposed to being either dismissive or completely sccepting without question. But research is not the answer if the faith crisis is more emotionally centered than intellectually. It may be supportive at times, but looking on research as the primary solution may end up pushing a relationship into a contentious or unstable dynamic. 

When it becomes a battle of printouts, books, references, interpretations, what good does research actually accomplish?  Therefore in my view research is not the answer, communication and understanding are.  Research can be used as part of the process, but it is a tool, not the end in itself. 

Edited by Calm
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59 minutes ago, rockpond said:

While it could be argued, as Bluebell is doing, that Pres. Oaks words apply only to that specific situation; when we bundle his message with other recent addresses on the same topic (Elder/Sister Renlund, Elder Corbridge) we see a common theme emerge.   The theme is to turn your efforts away from deeper research and back towards more of a faith-based approach.  This makes sense because researching the issues (ie Elder Corbridge’s list) is unlikely to lead one to answers that will be faith affirming.  I think our leaders are realizing that and so we’re seeing this direction to focus on strengthening your testimony of the basics, trusting the church leaders, and believing that what you know already is enough. 

I think that you are mostly correct in this assessment. I think that the church leaders are urging us to lead with our faith rather than our intellect. They are not suggesting that we abandon research, but that we put research into context rather than recontextualizing our spiritual experiences based upon secular research. Secular research cannot determine if Joseph Smith actually saw God the father and Jesus the Christ in his first vision. It cannot determine whether Joseph Smith received section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants from the Lord. It cannot determine if the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. It cannot determine if there is a God. It cannot determine if the universe as we can understand it was created by God or whether it just happened. The spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. They are not open to confirmation by our physical senses, and never will be.

As I pointed out in another post, the greater portion of humanity is not well enough equipped by training and possibly intellect to be able to understand the arguments for and against the formation of the universe with or without the intervention of a Divine Designer. Now, some research can help in that matter to a person who is so inclined, but it can be sufficient for a person who is content just to lead with their faith and not worry about the math. That is essentially what I do. After reading what the scientists are saying about the incredible odds against the universe in which we live being created randomly "fine tuned for life" I am more than comfortable with my approach. After all, the scientists have recognized that improbability and have postulated theories such as an infinite number of universes of which our life friendly universe is just one. Since these universes are not detectable and the theories are not testable. And there is the dark energy theory to explain the astonishing discovery that the universe is expanding at an ever greater rate rather than slowing down as the force of gravity slowly overcomes the momentum caused by the big bang as was initially predicted. This dark energy, a force so powerful that it does not just negate the force of gravity but actually overcomes it, yet our most sensitive instruments cannot detect it. Sounds sort of mystical to me. 😎

Yes, I believe in secular studies, academic learning, but I am not going to let it cause me to doubt the very real spiritual events I have experienced. After all, we do have scriptures that tell us " And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come."  (D&C 130:19) What is so blissful about this is that if I am wrong, if there is no God, I will never know. But if there is a life after death, and there is a god, Stephen Hawking is wondering what is going on right now.

Glenn

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Research can be used as part of the process, but it is a tool, not the end in itself. 

This.

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56 minutes ago, Calm said:

I have read of situations and have had one with a close relative where if the spouse told the other they have done or intend to check the accuracy of the claims the now doubter is making, this has caused conflict, at times intense. Apparently the last thing the one having a faith crisis can handle is being questioned about their interpretation (in these specific cases, have no clue what kind of percentage they might be, hopefully low; in the case of my relative, doubt in the Church was along side other personal issues where it appears the best/safest for all involved approach was to give lots of space and limit interaction until the doubter resolved it for themselves...and yes, that seemed extremely counterproductive to me and everyone else in the family, but not like my opinion changed the way they felt or their need.

And there have been spouses that have described themselves as just not able to deal with research at the same time as dealing with the changes in their relationship. 

I would hope eventually every spouse will do research to place the other’s new beliefs in a greater context as opposed to being either dismissive or completely sccepting without question. But research is not the answer if the faith crisis is more emotionally centered than intellectually. It may be supportive at times, but looking on research as the primary solution may end up pushing a relationship into a contentious or unstable dynamic. 

When it becomes a battle of printouts, books, references, interpretations, what good does research actually accomplish?  Therefore in my view research is not the answer, communication and understanding are.  Research can be used as part of the process, but it is a tool, not the end in itself. 

I don't think there are answers to the questions. I agree, the research may hurt rather than help, I believe. The only good research for the believing spouse without jeopardizing his/her own testimony is possibly the Gospel Topic Essays, these may save a marriage or they may take down the believing spouse. But at least the marriage will hopefully be saved one way or the other. 

I'm remembering in 2012 there was what is called the Swedish Rescue and Richard Turley and Marlin Jensen went there to speak in a fireside that had several members that were upset about learning things they hadn't known before, maybe stemming from Hans Mattsson I believe, or word of mouth. And they came away not feeling like they got any answers. Here is a link to the transcript. http://www.roadkilldelight.com/NOM/SFMJRT.pdf   

That's why there are no answers, honestly. The only answer is what the leaders are telling people in these talks now, unfortunately or fortunately. But personally, with my marriage, I lucked out and we're not divorced. Except for my husband almost losing his testimony, but I'm not going to take the blame, that lies with the leaders or past leaders of the church for hiding the information in cases. Sadly, my husband doesn't really want to participate in church except go every now and again to Sacrament meeting so he won't be lying when his mother asks about his church attendance. 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Thinking said:

Except members are taught to apply the scriptures outside of their scope. How many times has D&C 9:7-9 been used to teach about study and prayer? Yet this was a response to a very specific situation. Oliver wanted to translate.

And I agree with that.  Though obviously in the church we treat scripture differently than we treat other teachings, especially teachings that were specifically only meant for one group (while scritpures are scripture precisely because they are meant for the world). 

But in terms of this address, ALarson said that when deciding how to interpret Pres. Oaks words we could only use what was specifically said in this report and nothing more.  That's why, in my discussion with him, I focused on what was specifically said.

Quote

In that specific situation I can't see how research could not be part of the answer. It seems to me that the believing spouse would need to verify that the spouse with the faith crisis is at least using factual information.  I believe that it would be appropriate to broaden his words to any believer that has a personal relationship with someone who is in a faith crisis. In any case I can't see how research can't be part of the answer.

It seems that Pres. Oaks is coming at the issue from a different perspective than you are.

 

Edited by bluebell
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We need to focus on what is really important here...

 

Is someone going to record the Arizona devotional by President Nelson and President Oaks this weekend?

:)

 

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21 hours ago, Jeanne said:

When will I get to rep you again??  I agree with Teancum also.

Hey thanks!  It is not often someone here agrees with me!  😁

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14 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

I think that you are mostly correct in this assessment. I think that the church leaders are urging us to lead with our faith rather than our intellect. They are not suggesting that we abandon research, but that we put research into context rather than recontextualizing our spiritual experiences based upon secular research. Secular research cannot determine if Joseph Smith actually saw God the father and Jesus the Christ in his first vision. It cannot determine whether Joseph Smith received section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants from the Lord. It cannot determine if the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. It cannot determine if there is a God. It cannot determine if the universe as we can understand it was created by God or whether it just happened. The spiritual things must be spiritually discerned. They are not open to confirmation by our physical senses, and never will be.

 

Glenn

Secular research can determine whether or not the person making fantastic claims of supernatural interaction with deity should be trusted. Then one can decide if the topic of prayer, meditations, etc in order to gain a metaphysical confirmation of some event is worth the time and effort.  I guess one's level of trust is based on their own view of how much evidence is needed to make an up or down determination as to whether or not to pursue such questions. I recall a number of times Scott Lloyd saying that all the church and the apologists need to do is demonstrate that it is plausible that what Joseph claimed is true in order for someone to seek their own confirmation. To me that is a pretty low bar.  For others apparently not.

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Research is valuable but has its limits.  Ask 10 people to do research on issue X and you probably will not get 10 people arriving at the same answer on the issue.  Everyone uses different stuff in their research and even if they read the same information, they may interpret the information differently.  So if 10 people are having a faith issue and they simply rely on research to get their way through it, some of them will get the answers they look for and some will not.     If the goal is to retain more people, then additional things beyond research will probably will be required.

 

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25 minutes ago, alter idem said:

I think Pres. Oaks is spot on.  He's saying 'research is not the answer' on how to help a spouse who's struggling with Church history and doctrinal issues, because trying to find your own research to counter theirs is like Missionaries who get caught up 'Bible bashing' with investigators!  It's not productive, and from my own experience on discussion forums, I can attest to that--it's pretty hard, if not impossible to change minds when they've already entered the doubting phase.  They don't trust you and they don't trust what you share--they hold firmly to what they've found themselves and in fact, if you try to argue with them, like a drowning person, they will attempt to pull you down--get you to doubt as well.  At least, that's what I've observed in my own experience with this.

 

Faith is the only answer,  because that's the only way to gain a witness of the Holy Ghost about spiritual things.  Research and knowledge are valuable and they have their place, but they can't replace faith and without faith, they don't build a sure foundation for a witness to be received.  Faith is the key to a witness of truth, to be able to recognize and know truth when you see or read it.

 

I think sometimes people misunderstand because they may be picking apart what the Apostles say, looking for faults.  In this instance, I don't see anything to fault Pres. Oaks about--he's absolutely right, IMO.

 

In addition, I thought of 2 Ne 9:28-9

"O that cunning plan of the evil one!  O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men!  When they are learned they think they are wise and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

But to be learned is good, if they hearken unto the counsels of God."

So, what we see in this inspired admonition is that when we think we have so much knowledge it is simply 'vainness'.  If we could actually look out into the universe and comprehend God and all he knows, we'd realize what a miniscule amount we actually 'know' or even comprehend--and this compared to God's knowledge is a joke!  So our knowledge or learning needs to be combined with 'Hearkening to the counsels of God' and we can only receive that counsel when we are spiritually in tune, when we can exercise faith and receive inspiration/revelation.  Those who put reason--knowledge, intellectual learning and wisdom on a pedestal above faith are fools, because they shut out the one communication that could reveal all truth and knowledge to them.  God has told us this because he knows how little we know and how much we NEED his spiritual guidance to truly know TRUTH and obtain true wisdom--especially in a world where evil influences work to keep truth from us and make us believes lies.

I agree that researching troubling issues within the Church’s narrative and truth claims will not likely lead one to a position of bolstered faith.  I think that is why we’re seeing this emerging trend of discouraging such research. 

However, if one’s spouse has done the research and has concerns and the response from the other spouse is that they won’t look into it, won’t seek to understand where their spouse is, you might create a new problem in the marriage.   

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4 hours ago, Teancum said:

Secular research can determine whether or not the person making fantastic claims of supernatural interaction with deity should be trusted. Then one can decide if the topic of prayer, meditations, etc in order to gain a metaphysical confirmation of some event is worth the time and effort.  I guess one's level of trust is based on their own view of how much evidence is needed to make an up or down determination as to whether or not to pursue such questions. I recall a number of times Scott Lloyd saying that all the church and the apologists need to do is demonstrate that it is plausible that what Joseph claimed is true in order for someone to seek their own confirmation. To me that is a pretty low bar.  For others apparently not. 

It is possible that secular research can make such a determination but it has its limits because it cannot determine if in fact such interactions happened. And it has its limits as to whether such a person claiming such events happened can be trusted because we are looking through that glass darkly, through the lens of the narrators some who are friendly and some not so friendly. In order for one to consider whether a spiritual confirmation is worth the effort, one must understand what may be at stake in making such a decision.

When considering the plausibility as to whether out universe happened by a random event or whether by design, I look at the odds that have been calculated by the scientists. The odds against the universe happening through a random event are so great that they really are incomprehensible to the human mind.That is a very high bar for anyone to overcome to convince me that I am the result of a series of improbable accidents or random events and mutations.

Glenn

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17 hours ago, rockpond said:

I agree that researching troubling issues within the Church’s narrative and truth claims will not likely lead one to a position of bolstered faith.  I think that is why we’re seeing this emerging trend of discouraging such research. 

However, if one’s spouse has done the research and has concerns and the response from the other spouse is that they won’t look into it, won’t seek to understand where their spouse is, you might create a new problem in the marriage.   

Yes, that's probably true.  I'm certain that the doubting spouse will be upset when their loved one refuses to try to counter their claims or chooses not to read their sources.  That cannot be avoided I'm afraid because we can't do anything about how another person is going to react.  Hopefully, the believing spouse can show their love and support by their solicitude and outpouring of charity and patience.  And, their prayers on behalf of the spouse my soften their heart and will be an example of their clear concern for what the loved one is going through.

I am absolutely not against researching (since my preteens, I've spent a lifetime studying this church and it's teachings from all sources available to me), it is so important that we avail ourselves of all the resources now at our fingertips!  I marvel at how easy it is to read this information now!  We are truly blessed.  We ought to be familiar with our own history, because it's always those who aren't familiar with it that will likely feel like they were blindsided.  Not everyone though, because some don't stop with just one source or type of source.  The best scenario is that they realize they don't know enough on the subject and decide to study it, thoroughly, looking at all sides, being objecting in their search for answers and inviting the spirit to teach them as well.  And the break down of this is where the problems come in because those who accept without question what they read have also closed their minds to other possibilities and explanations.  That goes for either side.

I believe the time for research is before the doubter has hardened in their position; choosing to act on their doubts by removing the church from their lives through inactivity.  That was one of the points Pres. Oaks made when he said research was not the answer.  When Alma the younger was fully hardened in his unbelief, I assume his father did not try to counter his arguments with research and discussion, but spent his efforts mostly in prayer for his son.  So, there is a time for research, and it should be done by the doubter--they are the one who needs to continue to research, and not just the critical sources.

 

I used the example of Bible bashing because from my own experience, that's what I've found it most similar to(arguing points of church history or doctrine), on other forums I've been on, where the critics are allowed more leeway.  No matter what you counter with, they won't change their minds, they aren't open to considering their conclusions could be wrong.  It's the difference between a hard heart and a soft heart.  Unless they can be open, unless they are able and willing to exercise a particle of faith, they will not be able to 'counsel with God' to find answers, and many of these answers they seek can only come from God or be fully known in the next life when the veil is removed and we see clearly.

 

I agree with Pres. Oaks because I believe I understand what he's trying to teach and it rings true to me.

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46 minutes ago, alter idem said:

Yes, that's probably true.  I'm certain that the doubting spouse will be upset when their loved one refuses to try to counter their claims or chooses not to read their sources.

From my experience with this, the great majority of the time, the doubting spouse has actually discovered the truth regarding certain events or practices or teachings from church history.  When you say "counter their claims", that's not normally the needed approach.  Also, many have discovered the truth from reading all church sanctioned sources (such as the essays), so their spouse very much needs to "read their sources".  I think a better approach would be for both spouses to research together and find the truth together rather than the one who discovers the truth first being treated as if they are doing something wrong.  The leaders should  not fear members learning more about some of the issues that have been avoided in the past.  The information is getting out there and even they are now making efforts to put it in front of the members (which I applaud).  But let's not discourage married couples from working together and researching these topics together.

Edited by ALarson
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1 hour ago, alter idem said:

I used the example of Bible bashing because from my own experience, that's what I've found it most similar to(arguing points of church history or doctrine), on other forums I've been on, where the critics are allowed more leeway.  No matter what you counter with, they won't change their minds, they aren't open to considering their conclusions could be wrong.  It's the difference between a hard heart and a soft heart.  Unless they can be open, unless they are able and willing to exercise a particle of faith, they will not be able to 'counsel with God' to find answers, and many of these answers they seek can only come from God or be fully known in the next life when the veil is removed and we see clearly.

 

I agree with Pres. Oaks because I believe I understand what he's trying to teach and it rings true to me.

It's funny you say this because this is what the so called "critics" say about the believer.  Believers already have a conclusion that must remain despite whatever evidence is shown to them.  I think maintaining the believer in this believing state is what Pres. Oaks is after with his "research is not the answer." He knows that research leads too many, in his estimation, to the wrong conclusion and he wants to avoid this.  Too bad the evidence leads to the "wrong" conclusion too often for so many.  Otherwise, perhaps Pres Oaks would point to the "right" research and be pounding his fists on the table, demanding that the doubter look at the "right" research, because the "right" research is so obvious and leads to the correct conclusion .....

Perhaps the answer for split couples is understanding that most don't reach a believing conclusion, given all the evidence? 

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21 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

It is possible that secular research can make such a determination but it has its limits because it cannot determine if in fact such interactions happened. And it has its limits as to whether such a person claiming such events happened can be trusted because we are looking through that glass darkly, through the lens of the narrators some who are friendly and some not so friendly. In order for one to consider whether a spiritual confirmation is worth the effort, one must understand what may be at stake in making such a decision.

When considering the plausibility as to whether out universe happened by a random event or whether by design, I look at the odds that have been calculated by the scientists. The odds against the universe happening through a random event are so great that they really are incomprehensible to the human mind.That is a very high bar for anyone to overcome to convince me that I am the result of a series of improbable accidents or random events and mutations.

Glenn

As you can see I was not responding to you comments about the origin of the universe.  So if you are examining the supernatural claims of some other alleged prophet how would you go about deciding whether it was worth your time to pursue it and then pray about it? Someone besides Joseph Smith?

As for Joseph Smith I think we have plenty of information to decide whether he can be trusted in his supernatural claims, or not. What one chooses to do with that information is up to them.  The problem with the LDS Church in ht past is that such information was not readily available to the rank and file member praying for a testimony, nor of the average investigator that the missionaries were teaching. And the missionaries didn't offer it because likley they did not know it.

Today the information is available but the message from the Brethren is essentially to just ignore it.

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3 hours ago, Exiled said:

It's funny you say this because this is what the so called "critics" say about the believer.  Believers already have a conclusion that must remain despite whatever evidence is shown to them. 

And she recognized this happens for believers as well as critics:

Quote

 And the break down of this is where the problems come in because those who accept without question what they read have also closed their minds to other possibilities and explanations.  That goes for either side

 

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2 hours ago, ALarson said:

From my experience with this, the great majority of the time, the doubting spouse has actually discovered the truth regarding certain events or practices or teachings from church history.  When you say "counter their claims", that's not normally the needed approach.  Also, many have discovered the truth from reading all church sanctioned sources (such as the essays), so their spouse very much needs to "read their sources".  I think a better approach would be for both spouses to research together and find the truth together rather than the one who discovers the truth first being treated as if they are doing something wrong.  The leaders should  not fear members learning more about some of the issues that have been avoided in the past.  The information is getting out there and even they are now making efforts to put it in front of the members (which I applaud).  But let's not discourage married couples from working together and researching these topics together.

 

I think we should be careful not to generalize beyond what Pres. Oaks counsel was specifically for.  He was not discouraging married couples from working together or researching gospel topics together.  I believe the Gospel essays and scholarly church books prove that the Church is encouraging study, especially as families. 

Pres. Oaks was warning against a believing spouse being pressured into feeling they must read the websites and study the claims that have caused their spouse to go inactive and then try to refute that information using research into other sources and arguing to try to prove the church true in a secular manner, because that is what the world respects.  The 'world' doesn't respect or consider things of a spiritual nature and so they are dismissed, but to us, as members of a religion, we understand that it is required that many of our beliefs are only to be known and understood by Faith.  The 'world' and those who doubt, usually have abandoned faith as a means of gaining even spiritual knowledge and so, if given the opportunity, they will try to dismiss faith altogether when it is THE most important aspect of Religious belief.

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3 hours ago, Exiled said:

It's funny you say this because this is what the so called "critics" say about the believer.  Believers already have a conclusion that must remain despite whatever evidence is shown to them.  I think maintaining the believer in this believing state is what Pres. Oaks is after with his "research is not the answer." He knows that research leads too many, in his estimation, to the wrong conclusion and he wants to avoid this.  Too bad the evidence leads to the "wrong" conclusion too often for so many.  Otherwise, perhaps Pres Oaks would point to the "right" research and be pounding his fists on the table, demanding that the doubter look at the "right" research, because the "right" research is so obvious and leads to the correct conclusion .....

Perhaps the answer for split couples is understanding that most don't reach a believing conclusion, given all the evidence? 

I'm afraid you are also generalizing  Pres. Oaks' message to suggest that he doesn't want anyone to 'research' the Church because they'll find out it's history/doctrines are flawed and false. I'm certain Pres. Oaks is not afraid of anyone reading accurate information about the church, it's doctrines and history--he would applaud it!  We have nothing to hide.  Joseph Smith jr. foresaw the obstacles we would face in spreading the gospel and trying to live it and what Pres. Oaks was discussing in that talk is one of those things.  The Prophet stated;

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

If you observe what's on the web, there are many out there who are doing their best to misrepresent and sow seeds of doubt.  Before the internet became so commonplace, it used to be you'd most likely have to find a pamphlet or a book from an anti-mormon group to read this stuff, but now, it's prevalent and persistent, just a couple clicks to find and spread exponentially.  That's why this is a problem today--more easily accessible and many are exposed to it that don't know what is true and what is not. Pres. Oaks' counsel is wise.  If you have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his Church and are struggling with a doubting spouse who's moved into choosing to leave the faith, then recognizing that more 'research' isn't the answer, because the answers come through the spirit teaching and testifying to what's true.  I'm afraid that's something that a non-believer will not be able to understand.

 

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54 minutes ago, alter idem said:

I think we should be careful not to generalize beyond what Pres. Oaks counsel was specifically for

....

Pres. Oaks was warning against a believing spouse being pressured into feeling they must read the websites and study the claims that have caused their spouse to go inactive...

Where did he state that?

You are the one generalizing what he said (or adding to it), in my opinion.

He simply stated that research is not the answer.

Edited by JulieM

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24 minutes ago, Teancum said:

As you can see I was not responding to you comments about the origin of the universe.  So if you are examining the supernatural claims of some other alleged prophet how would you go about deciding whether it was worth your time to pursue it and then pray about it? Someone besides Joseph Smith?

As for Joseph Smith I think we have plenty of information to decide whether he can be trusted in his supernatural claims, or not. What one chooses to do with that information is up to them.  The problem with the LDS Church in ht past is that such information was not readily available to the rank and file member praying for a testimony, nor of the average investigator that the missionaries were teaching. And the missionaries didn't offer it because likley they did not know it.

Today the information is available but the message from the Brethren is essentially to just ignore it.

Oh, you were not talking about Jesus??? More Fantastical than even the Joseph Smith story. Oh well. However any belief in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints must begin with a belief in God and in Jesus the Christ. If one were to rely on secular history to decide whether to decide to spend the time and effort to determine if the Jesus that is portrayed in the New testament is Jesus the Anointed, scanty as the information is, the conclusion could very well be that He was actually a rebel, a dangerous agitator advocating the downfall of the Roman government. The only way to determine that would be through a spiritual experience. Once that has been accepted, one can move on to other things, looking through the lens of the New Testament about the way Jesus organized His church while he was here on the earth. Just looking at the Catholic Church of today and the various reformation churches and the few others that have come into being professing a belief in Jesus to see how they conform to what we can glean from the New Testament.

Yet, the stark differences that are exposed by those comparisons do not necessarily indicate that are not the one true church. After all, as the head of His Church, Jesus could make any changes to the structure and ordinances that He wishes. Their truth claims do not hinge upon their secular history or the actions of any of their leaders. They hinge upon confirmation by the Holy Ghost. The same applies to the truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

You may feel that you have learned enough from secular history to make a judgment on Joseph Smith's character and trustworthiness. I do not think so. But even if Joseph had become a fallen prophet, as it was supposed by quite a few of the members of the church in his day before he was murdered, that would not invalidate truths that were restored through him. Those claims were not rejected by the Whitmers that fell away nor by any of the others that were witnesses to the restoration events. They fell away because the felt Joseph had become a fallen prophet because of the things that happened. Oliver Cowdery also fell away because they felt that Joseph had become a fallen prophet but returned because of the spiritual events they had witnessed. Then there were the great number of people who were privy to all of the information that we have now, and more who did not fall away. People who were faced with some great physical and spiritual trials who were forged in that refiner's fire and came out stronger than ever to follow their own trail of tears to the Great Salt lake Valley in order to find a place to worship as they wished.

Those are some of the many reasons I think that it would be logical to invest the time and spiritual effort to find out if the message Joseph delivered to the world is true. And the crowning jewel of those revelations concerning the eternal nature of the family and the redemptive work for our ancestors.

Glenn

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1 hour ago, alter idem said:

I'm afraid you are also generalizing  Pres. Oaks' message to suggest that he doesn't want anyone to 'research' the Church because they'll find out it's history/doctrines are flawed and false. I'm certain Pres. Oaks is not afraid of anyone reading accurate information about the church, it's doctrines and history--he would applaud it!  We have nothing to hide.  Joseph Smith jr. foresaw the obstacles we would face in spreading the gospel and trying to live it and what Pres. Oaks was discussing in that talk is one of those things.  The Prophet stated;

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.”

If you observe what's on the web, there are many out there who are doing their best to misrepresent and sow seeds of doubt.  Before the internet became so commonplace, it used to be you'd most likely have to find a pamphlet or a book from an anti-mormon group to read this stuff, but now, it's prevalent and persistent, just a couple clicks to find and spread exponentially.  That's why this is a problem today--more easily accessible and many are exposed to it that don't know what is true and what is not. Pres. Oaks' counsel is wise.  If you have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and his Church and are struggling with a doubting spouse who's moved into choosing to leave the faith, then recognizing that more 'research' isn't the answer, because the answers come through the spirit teaching and testifying to what's true.  I'm afraid that's something that a non-believer will not be able to understand.

 

In my experience, it is the accurate information that is causing active, believing members to disengage from the Church.  For me, it was the accurate information about the Church’s narrative and truth claims that led to my “crisis of trust”.   I think this is why we are seeing Pres. Oaks, Elder Corbridge, and the Renlunds discouraging such research.  It is not faith affirming. 

If the issue was just that information being encountered by members was not accurate, the Brethren would be seeking to correct the inaccuracies.  

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