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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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11 minutes ago, rockpond said:

I think the new trend to discourage research is very recent (since last conference) and one that we will see more of.

I honestly believe that many of the leaders did not know the real church history.  They believed the one they'd been taught just like most of the rank and file members did.  The generation who had lived church history or knew those who did is in the past now and we've all relied on the more faithful or common versions that have been taught.

So, they really believed they could ask their church historians to "fix this" or come up with good answers that would help members when they learned the troubling details from the past.  Think of what took place at what is now called the Swedish rescue.  I think the leaders truly believed these historians had the answers.

Well, now they know that they didn't and that there really are no good answers for many of the doubts and questions.  So it appears their next approach may be to discourage members from researching.  I think that one may backfire on them too though....

Edited by ALarson
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1 minute ago, ALarson said:

I honestly believe that many of the leaders did not know the real church history.  They believed the one they'd been taught just like most of the rank and file members did.  The generation who had lived church history or knew those who did is in the past now and we've all relied on the more faithful or common versions that have been taught.

So, they really believed they could ask their church historians to "fix this" or come up with good answers that would help members when they learned the troubling details from the past.  Think of what took place at what is now called the Swedish rescue.  I think the leaders truly believed these historians had the answers.

Well, now they know that they didn't and that there really are no good answers for many of the doubts and questions.  So it appears their next approach may be to discourage members from researching.  I think that one may backfire on them too though....

It may backfire, but I think it gives many members all the rationale they need for not looking into the issues.  Even if your spouse comes to you with questions and concerns, you can be confident in explaining that further research is not the answer, trust the captain and know that these secondary questions will pale in significance if we focus on the primary questions.

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3 minutes ago, rockpond said:

It may backfire, but I think it gives many members all the rationale they need for not looking into the issues.  Even if your spouse comes to you with questions and concerns, you can be confident in explaining that further research is not the answer, trust the captain and know that these secondary questions will pale in significance if we focus on the primary questions.

I agree.  I also think this approach could cause even more marital stress and pain for those going through this.

I just know that if someone told me not to research something that was troubling my spouse, it would make me want to see what they (the leaders) were hiding and I'd definitely start researching.....but that's just me.  I know many will feel conflicted between supporting and helping their spouse and being obedient to an Apostle.

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18 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Well we can't know in the sense you're asking about counterfactuals, beyond once we have more experience looking at the general patterns of life and having a recognition of our own personality, needs, and weakness. However I think that, particularly when we're older looking back at our past, we can get a pretty good idea.

I'd also say that God isn't misleading us although he may not be meeting our expectations. That's not misleading though. When we pray for wisdom - what we should do - it's not the same as praying for knowledge in the sense of what is. That seems obvious, but it is something I think many people miss in their prayers. They pray for some attribute, often with a set of presuppositions of what will happen that are wrong. Again just going by my own experience, God will happily explain or at least give direction for why our presuppositions are wrong. My own experience is that many, particularly when they are young, don't do that.

So to my eyes this is far from a "answers are always right." To me the issue is learning to distinguish what is God from what is not God. And often, again just going by my own experiences particularly when young, we don't always do a good job distinguishing what is from God from what is our own fears, desires, or expectations.

Well I can but hope not given what happens after death. Although perhaps you don't agree with that.

I personally will say that in terms of accepting the gospel, getting baptized and so forth, the great work is in the spirit world not here on earth. If becoming a member was the most important thing in this life, then God would not have made it so difficult and often impossible for the vast majority of humanity through history to be baptized with authority. Given that reality, I certainly have no problem with God directing someone out of the Church for their life, if that was what was necessary for their development given their likely choices. Of course there's also a strong element of freedom in all of this. If people were willing to prepare themselves then I think there's only one way. I just think not everyone is ready for that.

My guess is that a big part of being a part of the restored gospel is preparing us for our work on the other side of the veil as missionaries. 

There is a way to find out of course. But I'd certainly agree that sometimes people think something is a revelation that isn't. I think the Church is so focused on just getting members to try to listen to the spirit that they're more willing to accept false positives rather than worry so much about people going astray. I'm not sure that's smart, but then I'm not in charge getting direction. So I may be completely wrong in that.

Again, I don't think it's God answering falsely. As I said, there's a difference between "which road is right" and "where should I go."

Thanks, Clark.  As Always I appreciate your comments even if I disagree with them.  I think as it pertains to being in the church and pushing for the Church you have the right and most workable position. 

I think I get you would say The HOllands' stories about going down the wrong road is more about leading us down roads that are wrong, but personally helpful.  I find it an odd interpretation, even if it's a needed one in order for the story to work.  YOu are playing on a sketchy foundation, as I see it.  If you say God leads one down the wrong path because that person needs to learn something down that path, then we must assume God did that.  For, you say, it's also possible the person mistakenly takes the inspiration/revelation as being from God when it is not.  The problem is we only know it's from God if we implement and it works out.  If we implement and it doesn't work out, then we assume it's from God but he must have had us learn something we needed, personally.  of course the problem with this is we are left assuming that our assumption was useful, and that assumption being built on a previous assumption was a solid one as well.  We're always left assuming the answer to any question before it is ever asked.  

But we've been down that road.  I find it troublesome, you don't like how I word the problem. 

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13 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I honestly believe that many of the leaders did not know the real church history.  They believed the one they'd been taught just like most of the rank and file members did.  The generation who had lived church history or knew those who did is in the past now and we've all relied on the more faithful or common versions that have been taught

This is a very important point. I agree. There is no conspiratorial cover-up going on at the leadership of the church.  What we’re seeing is the slowly built dam of selective memories and records beginning to burst  

I think the disconnect between many of us frustrated by is a result of the Paradigma of faith of those leaders and many of us who are struggling with the dam bursting.

I think that there is a selection-bias among LDS leadership. Many (most?) are in leadership roles not because they have been thoughtful explorers of truth, but because they have lived lives that are “all in” on this organization, and have worked hard to grow this church.

I don’t think the problem is that they are now “fat cats” living off the church dole, and are afraid it will fall apart if too many know the truth.

More likely, their lives are continually primed by the message that this is all true.  Thus, new data is subconsciously fit around the paradigm they are primed for, rather than used to shape the central paradigm (the church is true). Anyone in their position would have a hard time being objective.  I certainly would.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology)

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48 minutes ago, ALarson said:

How about over truth?  If our church is truly the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, then researching the events and doctrines and practices involved in the restoration should confirm that this is the Gospel of Jesus Christ restored.

Why discourage doing this?

Isn’t Deity by definition the infallible source of truth? So in what respect would Heavenly guidance be “over truth.”

Thus irrespective of one’s view on “research,” and I don’t discourage it, undeniable logic points to the fact that in choosing how to spend our finite time seeking truth, seeking infallible truth from Deity seems the most efficient and effective methodology.

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34 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I honestly believe that many of the leaders did not know the real church history.  They believed the one they'd been taught just like most of the rank and file members did.  The generation who had lived church history or knew those who did is in the past now and we've all relied on the more faithful or common versions that have been taught.

So, they really believed they could ask their church historians to "fix this" or come up with good answers that would help members when they learned the troubling details from the past.  Think of what took place at what is now called the Swedish rescue.  I think the leaders truly believed these historians had the answers.

Well, now they know that they didn't and that there really are no good answers for many of the doubts and questions.  So it appears their next approach may be to discourage members from researching.  I think that one may backfire on them too though....

Another thing that I believe causes concern for those in a faith crisis is the silence of the FP and the Q12 on the actual answers to the questions. Oaks' answer to a difficult question was, “When you are asked a difficult question, such as a puzzler about Church history, be honest and, if necessary, say you don't know. But then be sure to say what you do know: ‘I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God’."

The explanations or answers to the difficult questions are left to the apologists and the anonymous writers of the essays.

 

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34 minutes ago, ALarson said:

I honestly believe that many of the leaders did not know the real church history.  They believed the one they'd been taught just like most of the rank and file members did.  The generation who had lived church history or knew those who did is in the past now and we've all relied on the more faithful or common versions that have been taught.

So, they really believed they could ask their church historians to "fix this" or come up with good answers that would help members when they learned the troubling details from the past.  Think of what took place at what is now called the Swedish rescue.  I think the leaders truly believed these historians had the answers.

I am not so sure this still isn't the case, if Elder Corbridge's recent talk is any indication of what they think they know. His claim to have read through all this material as part of an assignment is difficult to believe. Not that I think he is lying by any means, but I think he vastly underestimates the extents of published Mormon literature there is.  How does one even determine what should be on such a list without reading through every potential candidate? The number of books & journal articles out there is enormous. 

Quote

As part of an assignment as a General Authority Seventy, Elder Corbridge needed to read through a great deal of material antagonistic to the Church, the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

“There may not be anything out there (of that nature) I haven’t read,” he said.

I have spent the last ten or so years trying to keep current just on the Book of Abraham and I know there is still a lot of available articles and books out there I have not read.

So I am a bit skeptical that as a group they are fully up to speed on church history.

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51 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

This is a very important point. I agree. There is no conspiratorial cover-up going on at the leadership of the church.  What we’re seeing is the slowly built dam of selective memories and records beginning to burst  

I think the disconnect between many of us frustrated by is a result of the Paradigma of faith of those leaders and many of us who are struggling with the dam bursting.

I think that there is a selection-bias among LDS leadership. Many (most?) are in leadership roles not because they have been thoughtful explorers of truth, but because they have lived lives that are “all in” on this organization, and have worked hard to grow this church.

I don’t think the problem is that they are now “fat cats” living off the church dole, and are afraid it will fall apart if too many know the truth.

More likely, their lives are continually primed by the message that this is all true.  Thus, new data is subconsciously fit around the paradigm they are primed for, rather than used to shape the central paradigm (the church is true). Anyone in their position would have a hard time being objective.  I certainly would.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priming_(psychology)

Good analysis.

I have to believe there were many moments for the leaders just as there have been for the members when they really started researching or reading more details about church history.

Did they react like many member do, I wonder?  With:

"Oh shoot....it's true?  Joseph really did marry 14 year old girls?  He really did marry other men's wives?  He really was a treasure seeker who used the same stone for that as he did to translate the Book of Mormon?  You mean, those aren't all just anti-Mormon lies?"

It's got to be difficult for them to learn this and then try to either keep it from the members (didn't work) or now put it in front of them in a faithful manner.  That's not easy.....

Edited by ALarson

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14 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

I am not so sure this still isn't the case, if Elder Corbridge's recent talk is any indication of what they think they know. His claim to have read through all this material as part of an assignment is difficult to believe. Not that I think he is lying by any means, but I think he vastly underestimates the extents of published Mormon literature there is.  How does one even determine what should be on such a list without reading through every potential candidate? The number of books & journal articles out there is enormous. 

I have spent the last ten or so years trying to keep current just on the Book of Abraham and I know there is still a lot of available articles and books out there I have not read.

So I am a bit skeptical that as a group they are fully up to speed on church history.

Good point:

Quote

As part of an assignment as a General Authority Seventy, Elder Corbridge needed to read through a great deal of material antagonistic to the Church, the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.

“There may not be anything out there (of that nature) I haven’t read,” he said.

He was called as a GA in 2008.  So he's had a good decade at least to read up on it.  It's possible I suppose--although I've failed to find a neat library helping anyone to define the extent of such literature.  It's also possible he's read some before the assignment.  It would be nice to see a checklist of what he's read just so I can compare what he's read to what I've read.  I first picked up what would be called an anti-Mormon book, by some, a decade and a half before his calling and assignment.  Many have been at this far longer than either of us.  It goes on.  Some of the better stuff has come out much more recently and in many forms of media, if you ask me, but over my time my biases have swayed to nearly opposite end of the spectrum it feels like.

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34 minutes ago, ALarson said:

Good analysis.

I have to believe there were many moments for the leaders just as there have been for the members when they really started researching or reading more details about church history.

Did they react like many member do, I wonder?  With:

"Oh shoot....it's true?  Joseph really did marry 14 year old girls?  He really did marry other men's wives?  He really was a treasure seeker who used the same stone for that as he did to translate the Book of Mormon?  You mean, those aren't all just anti-Mormon lies?"

It's got to be difficult for them to learn this and then try to either keep it from the members (didn't work) or now put it in front of them in a faithful manner.  That's not easy.....

Our brains to crazy things to us sometimes. 

Take Stockholm Syndrom for example. Why would a kidnap victim defend a captor?

I’m by no means comparing the church leaders to captors or victims in any way. But, I am pointing out that our minds hate cognitive dissonance.  It’s painful, so our minds will process normally challenging facts differently (if at all).

The term “anti-Mormon literature”* is a tool used by LDS minds to avoid this pain.  By labeling uncomfortable truths as anti-Mormon, we attach an “ickiness” to the information presented, and give ourselves reason to exclude that data from our cognitive process.

*Please note that I realize tha much of the literature one can find on Mormon subject  is untrue or heavily slanted.  But, I think we Mormons sometimes use the term “anti-Mormon” too liberally.

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4 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

Our brains to crazy things to us sometimes. 

Take Stockholm Syndrom for example. Why would a kidnap victim defend a captor?

I’m by no means comparing the church leaders to captors or victims in any way. But, I am pointing out that our minds hate cognitive dissonance.  It’s painful, so our minds will process normally challenging facts differently (if at all).

The term “anti-Mormon literature”* is a tool used by LDS minds to avoid this pain.  By labeling uncomfortable truths as anti-Mormon, we attach an “ickiness” to the information presented, and give ourselves reason to exclude that data from our cognitive process.

*Please note that I realize tha much of the literature one can find on Mormon subject  is untrue or heavily slanted.  But, I think we Mormons sometimes use the term “anti-Mormon” too liberally.

I happen to be in a newly formed ward.  As we chatted within ward council about inactive families on our ward list, several times the same comment was made:  "they started reading anti-Mormon literature".

There was a time in my life when I would have likely made the same comment.  Today, I'm wondering what "anti-Mormon literature" they may be talking about and if it was in actuality, just the truth about our Church's past that led these families to disengage.

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20 hours 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

We can talk about Jesus if you want as well as how the Universe came to be, the origin of life on this planet, etc.  I find the claims of the Bible fairly fantastical as well. The book by Bart Ehrmen called How Jesus Became God is a good start on some of the evidence that Jesus was not what the Bible claims for him.

I don't believe a spiritual experience is a very good way to determine the truth of much of anything.  The method is wrought with subjectivity to the individual and many have spiritual experiences that confirm the truth of one thing that would prove another thing that perhaps you had a spiritual experience about that confirmed the truth of it to you.

Regarding your comment that I feel I have learned enough from secular history to judge Joseph's character and trustworthiness.  You say you don't think so.  I am not sure what you don't think so about.  Are you saying you don't think that I have learned enough to make such a judgement?  If so you have a lot of hubris. I have not said you haven't learned enough on this topic or that if you have you have made the wrong decision for you. Look I think it is pretty clear Joseph made it all up and others may have been in on it. I can fall to the pious fraud model that Dan Vogel supports. But that is just for me. Other honest and good people can review the same evidence and conclude differently as it seem you have.

 

Last of all so what that many believed it and went through great trials for it?  There are all sorts of religions and other things that people have given their all for that you would likely find false.  Just because people believe and sacrifice for something does not make it true.

 

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4 hours ago, bluebell said:

I think that's a great question.

From my perspective, any studying or research that is done on religious topics that is not coupled with prayer and seeking insight from the Holy Ghost is secular.   

Why when trying to determine fanastical relious claims is it only done with prayer, faith and the holy ghost?  Would you fly in a plane that was built on such a premis? Or would you rather be sure the engineers that built the plane had good science behind it?

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4 hours ago, bluebell said:

If God is real and if He speaks to His children, then He is equally leery of such organizations.  I believe that He can help us steer clear of them.

the if in your post is a HUGE IF...

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

I happen to be in a newly formed ward.  As we chatted within ward council about inactive families on our ward list, several times the same comment was made:  "they started reading anti-Mormon literature".

There was a time in my life when I would have likely made the same comment.  Today, I'm wondering what "anti-Mormon literature" they may be talking about and if it was in actuality, just the truth about our Church's past that led these families to disengage.

I am reasonably confident that some of the gospel topic essays would be labeled as “anti-Mormon literature” by some had they been published by someone outside the LDS umbrella.

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14 minutes ago, Teancum said:

Why when trying to determine fanastical relious claims is it only done with prayer, faith and the holy ghost?  Would you fly in a plane that was built on such a premis? Or would you rather be sure the engineers that built the plane had good science behind it?

First, I didn't say only, I said also.  Second, no I wouldn't fly in a plane that was built on faith and prayer (mostly because such a plane wouldn't exist), but neither would I fly through my life using only the information that science can provide.  Science is great, but it has it's limitations.

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14 minutes ago, Teancum said:

the if in your post is a HUGE IF...

No one is arguing that it's not.  However, whether or not God exists isn't the topic of the thread and not relevant to the current conversation so it didn't seem necessary to delve into.  

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6 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

I am reasonably confident that some of the gospel topic essays would be labeled as “anti-Mormon literature” by some had they been published by someone outside the LDS umbrella.

Well, I've heard anecdotal accounts of people presenting GT Essays to friends/family and then being told by those friends and family that it is anti-Mormon.  Even thinking that someone faked the look/feel/URL of the Church's website to try to gain credibility.

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38 minutes ago, bluebell said:

First, I didn't say only, I said also.  Second, no I wouldn't fly in a plane that was built on faith and prayer (mostly because such a plane wouldn't exist), but neither would I fly through my life using only the information that science can provide.  Science is great, but it has it's limitations.

What are the limitations of science?

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4 hours ago, rockpond said:

I think the new trend to discourage research is very recent (since last conference) and one that we will see more of.  I could be wrong - it's just my observation over the past few months.

Yeah, I just read the evidence considerably differently than you do. If we were talking about the 80's and 90's I'd agree with you - there's clear evidence there. For the last few months I just don't see it. And I see evidence against it, such as the conference talk I linked to this morning. Even the Renlund fireside some refer to seems hard to see first as representing all the GAs, but secondly I just don't see them pushing against research either. Although to be fair I also haven't seen a full transcript, just what's been quoted.

4 hours ago, rockpond said:

To your links above, I believe that the Brethren thought that we could put out a less damaging version of the research that would help members work through it (GT Essays and Saints) but I think they may now be realizing that it isn't working.  I know so many people for whom the GT Essays were the very thing that sent them into a faith or trust crisis.

As I said I expected a painful transitory people as people find their more fundamentalist and unnuanced expectations aren't met. Those who stay will be much stronger and healthier in the future. I think Jana Reiss' data shows it's not affecting strong members as much though.

Whether the brethren expected that or not I can't say. 

4 hours ago, rockpond said:

If the actual facts of the Church's history were faith affirming, than why wouldn't Elder Oaks have advised the spouse of the troubled member to open up the GT Essays or Saints and resolve the concerns of the spouse?  My answer:  Because the concerns can't be resolved that way, the concerns are rooted in the truth about the church.  To stay "in", the way Elder Oaks and Elder Renlund seem to want members to stay in, you need to use faith to override those truths that are of lesser importance (Elder Holland to the MI).

I agree, although I think this just reiterates Elder Oaks and Elder Renlund's point that you need the spirit. It's not overriding "truths" as you portray but contextualizes them.

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4 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

I think that there is a selection-bias among LDS leadership. Many (most?) are in leadership roles not because they have been thoughtful explorers of truth, but because they have lived lives that are “all in” on this organization, and have worked hard to grow this church.

I have a hard time believing that, depending upon what you mean by LDS leadership. Most I know are quite familiar with all the controversial claims. Certainly people like Oaks or Holland are. I think to portray them not as thoughtful explorers of truth simply because they may come to different conclusions than you do is unfortunate. Ironically it's exactly the sort of thing the brethren get accused of. i.e. that anyone thoughtful would think like me.

41 minutes ago, rockpond said:

Well, I've heard anecdotal accounts of people presenting GT Essays to friends/family and then being told by those friends and family that it is anti-Mormon.  Even thinking that someone faked the look/feel/URL of the Church's website to try to gain credibility.

I'm sure that happens. I'm very, very skeptical it's that common.

54 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

I am reasonably confident that some of the gospel topic essays would be labeled as “anti-Mormon literature” by some had they been published by someone outside the LDS umbrella.

That "by some" seems to be doing an awful lot of work here.

I could find some Mormons who think pickles are against the word of wisdom because it's made with vinegar and vinegar comes from an alcohol producing process. Indeed I've had roommates with such crazy views. I'd not draw inferences about Mormons in general from such people.

 

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23 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

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.

Hi Glenn,

It was my understanding that one of the reasons David Whitmer fell away was that he rejected the claims by Joseph Smith to have restored the offices of high priest and prophet.

Whitmer believed that the office of the high priest was a vestige of the Mosaic law and anachronistic to Christianity. From An Address to all Believers.

Quote

Chapter 9

High Priests

 
High Priests were only in the church before Christ; and to have this office in the Church of Christ is not according to the teachings of Christ in either of the sacred books: Christ himself is our great and last High Priest. Brethren -- I will tell you one thing which alone should settle this matter in your minds; it is this: You cannot find in the New Testament part of the Bible or Book of Mormon where one single high priest was ever in the Church of Christ. The office of an Elder is spoken of in many many places, but not one word about a High Priest being in the church. This alone should convince any one, and will convince any one who is without prejudice, that the office of High Priests was established in the church almost two years after its beginning by men who had drifted into error. You must admit that the church which was to be established in this dispensation, must be “like unto the church which was taught by Christ' s disciples of old.” Then the Church of Latter Day Saints is unlike the Church of Christ of old, because you have the office of High Priests in the church. The office of a High Priest as you have it, is of more importance than the office of an Elder; then why is not something said about this high office being in the Church which Christ came on earth to establish at Jerusalem and upon this land? Why is there not something said about this important office, and so much said about an Elder?

An Address to all Believers in Christ by David Whitmer

Whitmer was also bothered by  changes made from the Book of Commandments in the D&C that he thought allowed Joseph to assume more authority as a prophet than was originally granted to him. Also from the above link.

Quote

There is nothing in the New Testament part of either the Bible or Book of Mormon concerning a one-man leader or head to the church. Whoever claims that such an office should be in the church today, goes beyond the teachings which Christ has given us. As I have stated, we were strictly commanded in the beginning to rely upon that which was written; and he who goes beyond that which was then written, to the revelations of Joseph Smith to establish any order or doctrine in the church, must come under the head of those whom Christ spoke of when he said, Whosoever teaches more or less, etc., is not of me. This alone should satisfy anyone who is not trusting in an arm of flesh. Who was Prophet Seer and Revelator to the church at Jerusalem? They had none. Who was Prophet Seer and Revelator to the church upon this land? They had none. And we had no such an office in the church in these last days for the first eight months of its existence, until Brother Joseph went into this error on April 6, 1830, and, after unwittingly breaking a command of God by taking upon himself such an office, in a few years those revelations were changed to admit this high office, which otherwise would have condemned it. They were changed to mean something entirely different from the way they were first given and printed in the Book
of Commandments; as if God had not thought of this great and important office when he gave those revelations. 

I am not defending Whitmer's argument here, only pointing out that he very clearly rejected important Restoration claims made by Joseph Smith.

Edited by CA Steve

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18 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

Yeah, I just read the evidence considerably differently than you do. If we were talking about the 80's and 90's I'd agree with you - there's clear evidence there. For the last few months I just don't see it. And I see evidence against it, such as the conference talk I linked to this morning. Even the Renlund fireside some refer to seems hard to see first as representing all the GAs, but secondly I just don't see them pushing against research either. Although to be fair I also haven't seen a full transcript, just what's been quoted.

As I said I expected a painful transitory people as people find their more fundamentalist and unnuanced expectations aren't met. Those who stay will be much stronger and healthier in the future. I think Jana Reiss' data shows it's not affecting strong members as much though.

Whether the brethren expected that or not I can't say. 

I agree, although I think this just reiterates Elder Oaks and Elder Renlund's point that you need the spirit. It's not overriding "truths" as you portray but contextualizes them.

You paint a nice picture of having nuanced views and contextualizing truths.  I feel that is what I've done to be able to stay actively engaged in the church and yet it seems clear that in traditional Mormon environments I can't be open about those nuances or contexts without being considered heretical.  My lived experience is that nuanced views and contextualizing the truths surrounding our narrative works on paper but is a struggle in practice.

I'm confident that President Oaks and Elder Renlund are not suggesting that members have nuanced views and contextualize truths.  It seems to me that they want us to let faith override those concerns.  I did that for a long time... the shelf broke, as they say.

ETA:  I also am not hearing them provide any sort of nuance or context for these problematic issues.  If you are, please share.

Edited by rockpond

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4 hours ago, ALarson said:

I honestly believe that many of the leaders did not know the real church history.  They believed the one they'd been taught just like most of the rank and file members did.  The generation who had lived church history or knew those who did is in the past now and we've all relied on the more faithful or common versions that have been taught.

So, they really believed they could ask their church historians to "fix this" or come up with good answers that would help members when they learned the troubling details from the past.  Think of what took place at what is now called the Swedish rescue.  I think the leaders truly believed these historians had the answers.

Well, now they know that they didn't and that there really are no good answers for many of the doubts and questions.  So it appears their next approach may be to discourage members from researching.  I think that one may backfire on them too though....

I also think that the church leaders themselves don't do heavy lifting on historical research.  They've outsourced that to the historians.  They've essentially split the appeal to authority into two branches.  When it comes to the specific details around what happened in history, they appeal to the professional historians for the specific details.  When it comes to an interpretation of the implications of those historical details, the appeal to authority is back on church leaders who have properly interpreted the meaning of the details in a faith promoting way that is approved by God.  

While this dynamic might allow for some differing interpretations on the details of history as described by the professional historians.  This dynamic does not allow for a differing interpretation on the implications of the history.  Church leaders are not flexible on how to interpret the theological implications and how they factor into the correlated narrative. 

Unfortunately, this very rigid approach is kind of like the when a child asks the parents why they should do something that they are being asked to do, and the parent answers "Because I said so".  Church leaders answering "Because I said so" doesn't work for more mature children and only serves to undermine a sense of trust in the family.  This approach is also failing greater numbers of members that are exploring issues of history from uncorrelated sources today.  

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