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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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9 minutes ago, rockpond said:

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.  

I don't know that you can state that as a fact though.  While not for everyone, for many people finding out that information can lead to greater faith.

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43 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

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

There are a couple of major flaws in your logic.  If we had actual verifiable writings written by Jesus Himself then, of course, they would be invaluable in evaluating the claims He made.  If there were verifiable court documents containing legal judgments against Jesus then, of course, they would be invaluable in evaluating the claims He made.  If there were verifiable records of eyewitness accounts of people that actually saw the claims Jesus made then, of course, they would be invaluable in evaluating just who Jesus was and the kind of person he was.  We have none of that.  But we do on Joseph Smith and the claims he made.  Those writings, eye witness records and court judgments are factual and verifiable.  There is nothing irrational about taking those records into account to evaluate the claims made by Joseph Smith.  It doesn't have to be all blind faith.

The second flaw is that if spiritual answers are so concrete in the answers, then why is there no consensus on who Jesus was and what he taught.  You act as if spiritual answers are clear and the same for whoever inquires.  The evidence clearly shows that is not the case.  It seems to be more a question of people believing what they want to believe.  There is no consistency in any answers people seek.

I am not saying that your blind faith approach is wrong.  It certainly may work very well for you.  But you can't expect everyone to evaluate spiritual matters in the same way you have.  And if there is more than just blind faith information available, then for some people, it seems logical to evaluate claims using all available information.  

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3 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I don't know that you can state that as a fact though.  While not for everyone, for many people finding out that information can lead to greater faith.

I am really interested in your answer and would like to know how that actually worked for you.  Sincere question.  You certainly don't have to answer it if you want.  But take for instance Joseph's claim that the papyrus scrolls were written by Abraham himself.  And that his translation of that ancient record is the Book of Abraham.  When you found out that the scrolls were nowhere near that old nor did they translate anything remotely resembling the Book of Abraham, how did that strengthen your faith?

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7 minutes ago, california boy said:

your blind faith approach

Yeah, that's not insulting.

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28 minutes ago, Calm said:

Yeah, that's not insulting.

I hope not.  That certainly was not my intent.  But his post seemed to be advocating to just take things on faith and not evaluate other sources in determining the truthfulness of something.   

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On 2/9/2019 at 9:12 AM, bluebell said:

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 scriptures are scripture precisely because they are meant for the world).

Quote

When one of the brethren stands before a congregation of the people today, and the inspiration of the Lord is upon him, he speaks that which the Lord would have him speak. It is just as much scripture as anything you will find written in any of these records, and yet we call these the standard works of the Church. We depend, of course, upon the guidance of the brethren who are entitled to inspiration. Joseph Fielding Smith

 

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

There are a couple of major flaws in your logic.  If we had actual verifiable writings written by Jesus Himself then, of course, they would be invaluable in evaluating the claims He made.  If there were verifiable court documents containing legal judgments against Jesus then, of course, they would be invaluable in evaluating the claims He made.  If there were verifiable records of eyewitness accounts of people that actually saw the claims Jesus made then, of course, they would be invaluable in evaluating just who Jesus was and the kind of person he was.  We have none of that.  But we do on Joseph Smith and the claims he made.  Those writings, eye witness records and court judgments are factual and verifiable.  There is nothing irrational about taking those records into account to evaluate the claims made by Joseph Smith.  It doesn't have to be all blind faith.

The second flaw is that if spiritual answers are so concrete in the answers, then why is there no consensus on who Jesus was and what he taught.  You act as if spiritual answers are clear and the same for whoever inquires.  The evidence clearly shows that is not the case.  It seems to be more a question of people believing what they want to believe.  There is no consistency in any answers people seek.

I am not saying that your blind faith approach is wrong.  It certainly may work very well for you.  But you can't expect everyone to evaluate spiritual matters in the same way you have.  And if there is more than just blind faith information available, then for some people, it seems logical to evaluate claims using all available information.  

I think that you have missed the point that I was trying to make. If we had verifiable documents showing that Jesus was actually condemned to death by Pontius Pilate for a crime that would not change anything how one would try to ascertain whether or not Jesus is the Christ.

As for Joseph Smith, I would assume that you are speaking of the civil judgment against Joseph concerning the Kirkland Banking Society. Of the forty some felony lawsuits filed against Joseph during his lifetime he was definitely acquitted in each case except maybe one. The 1826 case is at the best ambiguous so one can draw their own conclusions.

But again, none of that has anything to do with whether Joseph Smith had a vision where he saw God the Father and Jesus the Christ. None of that determines how the truth of such an event can be determined. Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and a few others testified that they actually saw angels, etc. But for mankind in general throughout the ages the truth of any spiritual claim has only been able to be obtained through spiritual means.

You can read about the life of Jesus, the Atonement, His death, and resurrection in the Bible, but in order to ascertain if it indeed did happen, one has to learn about it spiritually. There is no other way. Your contention that people are only believing what they want to believe when it comes to spiritual revelation has the counter argument that people who do not receive a confirming revelation are refusing to accept something they do not want to believe. Would you want the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be the one true church?

Now, can you tell me how a person today could determine if Jesus is the Christ if not by a revelation from the Holy Ghost?

Glenn

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8 minutes ago, Thinking said:

  Quote

When one of the brethren stands before a congregation of the people today, and the inspiration of the Lord is upon him, he speaks that which the Lord would have him speak. It is just as much scripture as anything you will find written in any of these records, and yet we call these the standard works of the Church. We depend, of course, upon the guidance of the brethren who are entitled to inspiration. Joseph Fielding Smith

What you quoted does not negate anything that Bluebell said. Most of the things that we receive from our current prophets are things for our day and may or may not be relevant for the next generation. But, even so, when such a prophet "stands before a congregation of the people today, and the inspiration of the Lord is upon him, he speaks that which the Lord would have him speak. It is just as much scripture as anything you will find written in any of these records."

Glenn

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18 minutes ago, Glenn101 said:

I think that you have missed the point that I was trying to make. If we had verifiable documents showing that Jesus was actually condemned to death by Pontius Pilate for a crime that would not change anything how one would try to ascertain whether or not Jesus is the Christ.

As for Joseph Smith, I would assume that you are speaking of the civil judgment against Joseph concerning the Kirkland Banking Society. Of the forty some felony lawsuits filed against Joseph during his lifetime he was definitely acquitted in each case except maybe one. The 1826 case is at the best ambiguous so one can draw their own conclusions.

But again, none of that has anything to do with whether Joseph Smith had a vision where he saw God the Father and Jesus the Christ. None of that determines how the truth of such an event can be determined. Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris and a few others testified that they actually saw angels, etc. But for mankind in general throughout the ages the truth of any spiritual claim has only been able to be obtained through spiritual means.

You can read about the life of Jesus, the Atonement, His death, and resurrection in the Bible, but in order to ascertain if it indeed did happen, one has to learn about it spiritually. There is no other way. Your contention that people are only believing what they want to believe when it comes to spiritual revelation has the counter argument that people who do not receive a confirming revelation are refusing to accept something they do not want to believe. Would you want the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to be the one true church?

Now, can you tell me how a person today could determine if Jesus is the Christ if not by a revelation from the Holy Ghost?

Glenn

I wasn't really trying to pick a fight with you.  I was only saying that verifiable evidence is definitely something that should be looked at and considered carefully in addition to spiritual conclusions.  

I once believe in the flood as told in the Old Testament.  Now I don't think it is possible because of the physical evidence.  So what I once thought was a spiritual witness turned out to not be true.  Should I completely ignore the evidence that CAN be evaluated just to hang on to a spiritual belief?

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On 2/9/2019 at 11:59 AM, 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.

We can’t ask Joseph if his claim of a visit from Deity is true.  But we can ask the other party to that claimed visitation whether or not they were there.  And as between direct confirmation from One with first-hand knowledge and trying to extrapolate whether someone is credible from multiple sources, I’d suggest the former is both more credible and empowering.

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On 2/9/2019 at 9:24 AM, rockpond said:

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?

:)

 

Neither I, nor my husband, heard anything about not recording it. I actually thought about doing it and then thought they would ask us not to.  Then I didn't hear it ever being asked of us. Is possible we missed it.  

Edited by Rain
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5 hours ago, bluebell said:

I don't know that you can state that as a fact though.  While not for everyone, for many people finding out that information can lead to greater faith.

Then why aren’t the Brethren encouraging such research rather than discouraging it?

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On 2/8/2019 at 3:32 PM, 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 have to admit I"m feeling a bit floored by your "the teaching isn't very important but that the experience of learning is important" approach to this stuff.  What experience is to be gained from being told research is not the answer when it may be?  What is to be gained by the young boys being told that the strict use fo the right hand is important when it's not really important?  

I'm reminded of Elder Holland's two roads teaching--wherein God will mislead us sometimes so we can go down the wrong road.  It's weird because sometimes we're supposed to pretend that the answer first given, as it comes from God, is right even if everything around us points to it being wrong, and then this new idea from Elder Holland was that God will show us it's wrong but those things around us, after he tells us its right.  In like manner Oaks is saying something like the right hand only thing is important as if God himself says it is even though it's not important at all.  What's important it these particular boys think God thinks its important until they realize it's not...or something.  

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8 hours ago, rockpond said:

Then why aren’t the Brethren encouraging such research rather than discouraging it?

Many of us here have already put forth our perspective on why Pres. Oaks, in this specific address, is suggesting that research is not the answer.  I don't think it's necessary to outline my thoughts again on it.

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11 hours ago, Thinking said:

 

That does not change the fact that we treat the scriptural canon differently than other teachings.  One of the reasons is that something can be scripture for us personally but not meant for anyone else.

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17 hours ago, Calm said:

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

 

I think this is a false equivalence. One cannot rationally say that the critic is too hardened for not believing in seer stones or in plates that only a few saw with arguably their spiritual eyes, etc., etc., etc.  Maybe it will be shown to be true in the end, but one cannot blame unbelief given the present state of the narrative.

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17 hours 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.

 

Try and imagine a world where research was the answer. In that world the critic would easily be dismissed by appeals to actual evidence instead of appeals to assumed belief and requests to avoid research and appeals to the "spirit." It's too bad research isn't the answer because that would certainly aid in converting the world, the supposed goal. However, as it stands, there are only .2% of the world's population that are considered members. One would think God's truth would prevail a little better?

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15 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Try and imagine a world where research was the answer. In that world the critic would easily be dismissed by appeals to actual evidence instead of appeals to assumed belief and requests to avoid research and appeals to the "spirit." It's too bad research isn't the answer because that would certainly aid in converting the world, the supposed goal. However, as it stands, there are only .2% of the world's population that are considered members. One would think God's truth would prevail a little better?

The "supposed goal" is faith in Jesus Christ.  Given the definition of faith (which i'm assuming you are aware of), how could research ever be the answer?

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1 minute ago, bluebell said:

The "supposed goal" is faith in Jesus Christ.  Given the definition of faith (which i'm assuming you are aware of), how could research ever be the answer?

Well, since Jesus Christ is so broad and several religions have the same goal, maybe research is important, in order to be in a safe organization.

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4 minutes ago, bluebell said:

The "supposed goal" is faith in Jesus Christ.  Given the definition of faith (which i'm assuming you are aware of), how could research ever be the answer?

I can only answer for myself, but it is very important for me to know the history of those involved (and their actions and the events) in the proclaimed restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   I've learned that one can have faith in Jesus Christ but have doubts regarding the history of this specific church.  

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23 minutes ago, Exiled said:

Try and imagine a world where research was the answer. In that world the critic would easily be dismissed by appeals to actual evidence instead of appeals to assumed belief and requests to avoid research and appeals to the "spirit." It's too bad research isn't the answer because that would certainly aid in converting the world, the supposed goal. However, as it stands, there are only .2% of the world's population that are considered members. One would think God's truth would prevail a little better?

It's bad enough hat he think research is bad, but I think there's something more troubling here.  He's telling a group of young marrieds, if your spouse starts doubting, asking tough questions, and wondering about the issues that have plagued the Church in recent years, then you are a believer should not see research as an answer to your spouses troubles.  What I think is the big problem there is, he seems to be advocating spouses not work through it together.  I've heard enough of believing spouses ignoring the questioning spouse, speaking of him/her as if they are evil for their concerns.  This advice only makes it worse.  The questions brought up by the questioning spouse might very likely have nothing to do with faith at all.  

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2 minutes ago, bluebell said:

The "supposed goal" is faith in Jesus Christ.  Given the definition of faith (which i'm assuming you are aware of), how could research ever be the answer?

Faith without works is dead. That is faith manifests itself through our actions but figuring out our actions requires study. Faith in Christ I think can never be abstract although we frequently talk about it as if it were.

I agree with your general thrust of course. I'm just emphasizing what I think Oaks was getting at. Research alone is insufficient. But study and research are, I think, essential for faith.

2 hours ago, stemelbow said:

I'm reminded of Elder Holland's two roads teaching--wherein God will mislead us sometimes so we can go down the wrong road.  It's weird because sometimes we're supposed to pretend that the answer first given, as it comes from God, is right even if everything around us points to it being wrong, and then this new idea from Elder Holland was that God will show us it's wrong but those things around us, after he tells us its right.  In like manner Oaks is saying something like the right hand only thing is important as if God himself says it is even though it's not important at all.  What's important it these particular boys think God thinks its important until they realize it's not...or something.  

If life is a developmental building process, then we shouldn't assume God's answers are always to make life easy for us but to guide us into development. While I think Elder Holland's teaching can be misapplied and construed, I also think it's true that God directs us for what is good for us in a developmental sense and not necessarily what we think is our goal. I've certainly seen that many times in my own life.

Interestingly, and this is where many Mormons are likely to break with Elder Holland, this may very well mean that God leads people out of the Church temporarily so that they can learn important lessons. Or perhaps, given their personality and experiences, a direct route to the Church isn't possible for them. Most Mormons hearing that then get upset, but it seems the clear implication of Holland's talk. I remember being surprised when he gave it. (And he's said similar things in the past)

Sometimes we pray for some developmental aim - say making us patient or wise. We don't think through that God's not going to give us that characteristic miraculously as if he could change us against our will. (Since effectively what we have are competing wills) What God gives us are the experiences so we can change our personality and habits. From past experience and prayer, that's never straightforward, is often unexpected, and frequently painful but in the end does answers ones prayers.

Despite having a theology that focuses so much on our personal development, I think we frequently hope it's not true and that God just magically changes us at a snap into a different person. The sum of Mormon theology seems to indicate not only is that not something God will do but it's something he can't do. It's the big limit on his power.

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Just now, clarkgoble said:

Faith without works is dead. That is faith manifests itself through our actions but figuring out our actions requires study. Faith in Christ I think can never be abstract although we frequently talk about it as if it were.

I agree with your general thrust of course. I'm just emphasizing what I think Oaks was getting at. Research alone is insufficient. But study and research are, I think, essential for faith.

I completely agree.

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7 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I can only answer for myself, but it is very important for me to know the history of those involved (and their actions and the events) in the proclaimed restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.   I've learned that one can have faith in Jesus Christ but have doubts regarding the history of this specific church.  

I agree, but that doesn't really answer the question that I asked Exiled.  Given that faith is belief in the spiritual claims of Christ and His doctrine, without proof (or a sure knowledge) that they are true, how can research into secular things like history or archaeology alone ever produce faith in Christ?

 

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