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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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10 minutes ago, rockpond said:

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 suspect it's how one raises such things. I can't really say much about your experience since I live in a part of Utah that's fairly well educated despite being purported orthodox central (Provo). That education level actually makes a lot of discussions much easier. I've just never encountered problems. But then I'm also a fairly outspoke orthodox theological proponent so perhaps people just assume when I raise them I'm doing it from a perspective of faith. I don't know. I know I'll even raise things like the Documentary Hypthesis, berate young earth creationism, etc. without trouble. But it's partially because I explain as part of that how it illuminates scripture in a faithful (i.e. historical) sense. So the Documentary Hypothesis explains Nephi's differences from the Old Testament and emphasizes Book of Mormon historicity.

Edited by clarkgoble

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20 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:
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.

Perhaps I was not clear.

Being aware of historical events is one thing, processing them and their context/implications is another.

I believe that ‘the brethren’ are largely aware of some of these challenges. But, I have a few personal experiences that have shown me that they are not all informed as they should be. I spoke with an area president 70 once who told me that he had just learned that the Book of Abraham had been translated by Joseph Smith from Papyrus scrolls he had acquired. He had thought that Joseph smith recieved the book by revelation alone. Read that again - a seventy who was President of an area did not know until he was 68 years old the origins of the Book of Abraham.

Do ‘the brethren’ process these historical facts as they should?  Who am I to judge?  I am processing them incorrectly. I only offer what I think is a reasonable idea that a group of men who have thrown their lives into church administration MIGHT be a little biased (naturally) in their thinking.  To ignore that probability is to ignore the overwhelming evidence that psychologists have established showing the efficacy of priming.

Lastly, I realize I’m painting with a very broad brush here. There are some splendid, objective scholars who have led in this church. Who will be the next BH Roberts?  The next Maxwell?

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42 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

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.

You caught that?  I ‘pulled a Trump’ by making a statement that cannot be proven wrong, nor right, but still carries validity with those who agree! 😊

Im only trying to underline the point that people will sometimes use labels to avoid confronting an idea for what it is. For example:

Expanded Medicaid - “That’s socialism!”

Lets encourage discussion about an idea, and avoid loaded labels.

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33 minutes ago, clarkgoble said:

I suspect it's how one raises such things. I can't really say much about your experience since I live in a part of Utah that's fairly well educated despite being purported orthodox central (Provo). That education level actually makes a lot of discussions much easier. I've just never encountered problems. But then I'm also a fairly outspoke orthodox theological proponent so perhaps people just assume when I raise them I'm doing it from a perspective of faith. I don't know. I know I'll even raise things like the Documentary Hypthesis, berate young earth creationism, etc. without trouble. But it's partially because I explain as part of that how it illuminates scripture in a faithful (i.e. historical) sense. So the Documentary Hypothesis explains Nephi's differences from the Old Testament and emphasizes Book of Mormon historicity.

Being an "outspoken orthodox theological proponent" and using the Documentary Hypothesis to emphasize Book of Mormon historicity is not what I would call nuanced and contextualizing the difficult parts of our narrative.  It's not a surprise that you haven't encountered any problems with your views.

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17 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

But then I'm also a fairly outspoke orthodox theological proponent

FWIW, I do not see your views as orthodox especially when you go on to say...

 

Quote

I know I'll even raise things like the Documentary Hypothesis, berate young earth creationism, etc. without trouble. But it's partially because I explain as part of that how it illuminates scripture in a faithful (i.e. historical) sense. So the Documentary Hypothesis explains Nephi's differences from the Old Testament and emphasizes Book of Mormon historicity.

 

Edited by CA Steve

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1 hour 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.

I see differences between a “fundamentalist and unnuanced expectation,” faith in the fundamental, primary principles, and the process of “divine learning” (from the Corbridge article). I see a relative spiritual maturation from the first to the last. When someone finds himself struggling due to the unmet expectation, he can certainly develop nuanced and contextual substitutes for faith and divine learning since one can discipline himself to train his intellect to override his spirituality, no matter how great he may assess either may be.

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1 hour ago, rockpond said:

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.

I think they are suggesting we use a spiritually mature, disciplined approach to staying in the Church. The approach may seem very basic, and "becoming as a child" may be a misunderstood principle, but once a firm foundation is established (you mentioned Elder Holland at the MI earlier), people can both happily stay in the Church and perform research to their heart's content. The findings in their research could cause another to stumble in their faith, or the facts can be all that are seen when faith has been laid aside for some reason. Nuance and context (rationalization), in my opinion, are not features of faith in the Church but of personal willpower (instead of faith) to stay in. I don't think our general authorities would want that for or of anyone.

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2 minutes ago, CV75 said:

I think they are suggesting we use a spiritually mature, disciplined approach to staying in the Church. The approach may seem very basic, and "becoming as a child" may be a misunderstood principle, but once a firm foundation is established (you mentioned Elder Holland at the MI earlier), people can both happily stay in the Church and perform research to their heart's content. The findings in their research could cause another to stumble in their faith, or the facts can be all that are seen when faith has been laid aside for some reason. Nuance and context (rationalization), in my opinion, are not features of faith in the Church but of personal willpower (instead of faith) to stay in. I don't think our general authorities would want that for or of anyone.

To see if I understand you correctly:  You are suggesting that the leaders don't want us to use nuance and contextualization to stay in (as those are not rooted in faith), instead one should apply the principle of becoming as a child and let their foundation of faith override any concerns that research may bring up?

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5 hours ago, Teancum said:

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. 

There really is not much more that I can say about our differing beliefs as to the Bible etc. We have different opinions based upon some of the same type of reasoning, i.e. you feel that the miraculous parts of the Bible are fantastical because you haven't been presented with any empirical proof that they did happen. I believe, based upon the data that the scientists have presented as to the improbability of the universe being created by a random event that it is more likely that the universe was actually created by a sentient being of tremendous power, a God.

The rest of my my logic flowed from that. You may not believe it but you cannot refute it, mush as I cannot prove that the miraculous events cited by the Bible actually happened.

As for Joseph Smith's character, I was not even debating it or whether or not you have enough information to make a judgment. I think you missed my point entirely, which was that the truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not rest upon the any person's opinion of his character. You are free to draw any conclusions you wish There were people in Joseph's day that had jaundiced opinions of Joseph also. Yet, as I pointed out, some of those people also were witnesses to the existence of the plates and the appearance of angels which they never denied. The point there is that their opinion of Joseph's character did not cause them to negate their very powerful spiritual experiences.

It is those experiences of which you seem to be so chary. I do not know if you have ever had any such or whether you have had some type of experiences which you have reconsidered in light of information that has come down the pike. All I know is what I have experienced which is the basis for my continued belief and faith.

Glenn

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3 hours ago, CA Steve said:

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

Yes, David did think that Joseph had become a fallen prophet. But he never denied the his witness of seeing an angel that showed him the plates. He believed in the restoration but believed Joseph had gone astray, as noted in the excerpts that you quoted.

Glenn

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3 hours ago, CA Steve said:

FWIW, I do not see your views as orthodox especially when you go on to say...

I think that gets at the key issue. What is orthodoxy?

When discussed by Signature back in the 90's in Mormon Neo-Orthodoxy: A Crisis Theology, White included not only McConkie but also Chauncey Riddle and Hugh Nibley. Having taken rather intense classes from both Riddle and Nibley when I was at BYU and in particular getting to know Chauncey Riddle quite well and don't think my own views are that far from theirs. If anything I'm a bit of a hybrid. Clearly Riddle and Nibley disagreed on some things - he was quite conservative while Nibley was extremely liberal to being nearly a Marxist. Nibley was basically a platonism while Riddle was an existentialist - the exact opposite. I can't recall discussing evolution or things like that in Nibley's class, but I most certainly did in Riddle's class. I think I brought up the Documentary Hypothesis as well although I lost my notes in a flood some years ago.

Anyway, I actually do think I'm pretty orthodox. I think FARMS/Interpreter is probably a much better gauge than the 80's view that was biased towards JFS and BRM. Certainly I've never had anyone question the orthodoxy of my theology before. And it's not like I'm terribly silent about it either online or at Church. 

(I should add that I find White's book on Neo-orthodoxy nonsense simply due to ridiculous divergence between the three main thinkers - so it's not a book I'd recommend for anyone but it's good for situating the debate over orthodoxy IMO)

4 hours ago, rockpond said:

Being an "outspoken orthodox theological proponent" and using the Documentary Hypothesis to emphasize Book of Mormon historicity is not what I would call nuanced and contextualizing the difficult parts of our narrative.  It's not a surprise that you haven't encountered any problems with your views.

Why don't you think that's nuance and contextualizing? (Sincere question)

I just used it as an example though. I think the theology of fallible prophets, which I've brought up, is an other example.

4 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

I believe that ‘the brethren’ are largely aware of some of these challenges. But, I have a few personal experiences that have shown me that they are not all informed as they should be. I spoke with an area president 70 once who told me that he had just learned that the Book of Abraham had been translated by Joseph Smith from Papyrus scrolls he had acquired. He had thought that Joseph smith recieved the book by revelation alone. Read that again - a seventy who was President of an area did not know until he was 68 years old the origins of the Book of Abraham.

Sorry - was more speaking of the Apostles. When you move broader than that I suspect there is more ignorance.

4 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

Lastly, I realize I’m painting with a very broad brush here. There are some splendid, objective scholars who have led in this church. Who will be the next BH Roberts?  The next Maxwell?

I think Oaks is at least the equal of Maxwell in many areas. I'd say he's the most interesting doctrinally influential apostle since JFS/BRM. He's at least the equal of Roberts and arguably far more so due to his education and knowledge. As I'm mentioned before his talk on women and the priesthood was pretty significant. It's also clear he's driven a lot of changes over the past 25 including major changes to church courts, pushing for a more responsible approach to LGBT issues (prior to his pushing it in the 90's most treated it as a choice and not innate in some strong sense), and I suspect he's a major influence in many of the recent changes under Nelson.

 

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13 hours ago, rockpond said:

To see if I understand you correctly:  You are suggesting that the leaders don't want us to use nuance and contextualization to stay in (as those are not rooted in faith), instead one should apply the principle of becoming as a child and let their foundation of faith override any concerns that research may bring up?

I’m fascinated to observe how long discussions on this topic go on and on in circles without the participants sooner coming to the realization that there will never be a satisfactory resolution to this debate until God Himself intervenes and reveals the truth of the matter. It should be plainly understood by all that until that day of divine intervention comes those on both sides of the argument — includimg those who know by the Spirit the restored gospel is true — would be wise to simply courteously agree to disagree and then go on their merry way. I say this because if it turns out that the general authorities are correct in their assertion that the only way one can gain a testimony of the restored Church is through personal revelation from God, it means that by the very nature of this issue there is nothing that can be said or done on an empirical basis that will ever be able to satisfactory settle the debate once and for all. The reason why an empirical approach is inadequate is because the receipt of revelation from God cannot be proven to be true or false by applying the standard earthly tools of inquiry usually employed to determine whether or not something is true.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume for a moment that it will turn out to be true the leaders of the Church are correct when they insist the only way the secondary questions will ever be satisfactorily answered is to first gain a deep and abiding testimony of the truthfulness of the restored Church by first obtaining the answers to the primary gospel questions through personal revelation from the Holy Ghost. This would mean that no matter how zealous and sincere some might be in the desire to obtain satisfactiory answers to the secondary gospel questions before being willing to entertain the notion that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints might be true, such individuals will never be able to successfully obtain that objective. They will have been anxiously engaged in an exercise of utter futility. So the bottom line is that if the Church leaders do turn out to be correct, trying to gain a testimony of the restored Church by insisting the secondary questions be answered first will be a fool’s errand that’s doomed to utter failure from the start, and not even worth discussing except to point out that the secondary questions first approach doesn’t work.

Did you ever stop to think it’s possible that God has allowed all the secondary questions to exist in orderto test our faith in the refiner’s fire, to see if we are going to trust in the voice of the Spirit (revelation) or in the arm of flesh? If the Church leaders are true prophets who are speaking the truth, those who fail the test will ultimately realize they have no one else to blame but themselves for their failure.

If it proves to be true that the leaders are indeed giving correct counsel when it comes to how to go about obtaining an authentic testimony of the restored gospel, those who have spent nearly their entire lives insisting that the only way for them to hope to gain a testimony of the restored gospel would be by obtaining first satisfactory answers to the secondary questions may cry foul to the Lord and protest it’s unreasonable and unfair to expect people to believe the restored Church is true when there are so many unsettling questions that have been left unanswered. Even so, it must be understood that if the Church leaders really are teaching correct principles in this regard, it’s very likely He will inform them that if they had only been sincerely willing to faithfully follow the leaders’ counsel to obtain first the answers to the primary gospel questions that they would have just as surely been given affirmative revelatory answers to those questions as readily and powerfully as anyone else who is willing to faithfully come to Him in the same way.

The only way the “secondary questions first”:group will be vindicated is if at some point God intervenes and declares the Church leaders are not living prophets of God. And that would be a pyrrhic victory at best, for where else is anyone going to turn to get such great and wonderfully comforting answers to life’s greatest questions? 

Edited by teddyaware
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9 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I think Oaks is at least the equal of Maxwell in many areas. I'd say he's the most interesting doctrinally influential apostle since JFS/BRM. He's at least the equal of Roberts and arguably far more so due to his education and knowledge. As I'm mentioned before his talk on women and the priesthood was pretty significant. It's also clear he's driven a lot of changes over the past 25 including major changes to church courts, pushing for a more responsible approach to LGBT issues (prior to his pushing it in the 90's most treated it as a choice and not innate in some strong sense), and I suspect he's a major influence in many of the recent changes under Nelson.

What is the most important scholarly contribution Oaks has made as a leader in the church?  Aside from his legal position, of course. 

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14 hours ago, rockpond said:

To see if I understand you correctly:  You are suggesting that the leaders don't want us to use nuance and contextualization to stay in (as those are not rooted in faith), instead one should apply the principle of becoming as a child and let their foundation of faith override any concerns that research may bring up? 

No, I’m suggesting that: 1. they don’t want people to substitute rationalization for faith as a strategy for staying in the Church; 2. they are not teaching people how to stay in the Church by any means necessary; that is not their calling; 3. they are not telling people to leave if they haven’t faith, either (reference “desire to believe”); and 4. they teach us how to understand and apply the principles of faith, learning and discipleship which, which like the principle of becoming as a child, can be misunderstood and abused (just like Fowler's stages of faith development and similar models).

As a result, as I was suggesting, people can both happily stay in the Church on sound spiritual principle and perform research (and even rationalize explanations that may include nuance and context) to their heart's content.

Edited by CV75
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1 hour ago, SouthernMo said:

What is the most important scholarly contribution Oaks has made as a leader in the church?  Aside from his legal position, of course. 

His position on truth from the October conference, which everyone ignores because the rest of the talk was about gender. "Truth and the Plan".

Because of the device I am on at the moment I cannot provide the link. You may disagree with him but he knows his philosophy.

QUOTE:

"Modern revelation defines truth as a “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). That is a perfect definition for the plan of salvation and “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
            We live in a time of greatly expanded and disseminated information. But not all of this information is true. We need to be cautious as we seek truth and choose sources for that search. We should not consider secular prominence or authority as qualified sources of truth. We should be cautious about relying on information or advice offered by entertainment stars, prominent athletes, or anonymous internet sources. Expertise in one field should not be taken as expertise on truth in other subjects.
            We should also be cautious about the motivation of the one who provides information. That is why the scriptures warn us against priestcraft (see 2 Nephi 26:29). If the source is anonymous or unknown, the information may also be suspect.
            Our personal decisions should be based on information from sources that are qualified on the subject and free from selfish motivations.
            
                
                    I.
                
                When we seek the truth about religion, we should use spiritual methods appropriate for that search: prayer, the witness of the Holy Ghost, and study of the scriptures and the words of modern prophets. I am always sad when I hear of one who reports a loss of religious faith because of secular teachings. Those who once had spiritual vision can suffer from self-inflicted spiritual blindness. As President Henry B. Eyring said, “Their problem does not lie in what they think they see; it lies in what they cannot yet see.”
                The methods of science lead us to what we call scientific truth. But “scientific truth” is not the whole of life. Those who do not learn “by study and also by faith” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118) limit their understanding of truth to what they can verify by scientific means. That puts artificial limits on their pursuit of truth.
                President James E. Faust said: “Those who have been [baptized] put their eternal soul at risk by carelessly pursuing only the secular source of learning. We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fulness of the gospel of Christ, which gospel is the essence of truth and eternal enlightenment.”
                We find true and enduring joy by coming to know and acting upon the truth about who we are, the meaning of mortal life, and where we are going when we die. Those truths cannot be learned by scientific or secular methods."

 

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20 hours 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.

It's actually not, IMO, especially when it comes to the accusations and criticisms against the Church.  The writers may be different, but the arguments are the same, just recycled and republished.

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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

Did you ever stop to think it’s possible that God has allowed all the secondary questions to exist in orderto test our faith in the refiner’s fire, to see if we are going to trust in the voice of the Spirit (revelation) or in the arm of flesh? 

Of course.  This has been a guiding principle in rebuilding my faith.

2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

If it proves to be true that the leaders are indeed giving correct counsel when it comes to how to go about obtaining an authentic testimony of the restored gospel, those who have spent nearly their entire lives insisting that the only way for them to hope to gain a testimony of the restored gospel would be by obtaining first satisfactory answers to the secondary questions may cry foul to the Lord and protest it’s unreasonable and unfair to expect people to believe the restored Church is true when there are so many unsettling questions that have been left unanswered.

This strikes me as a strawman as I don't know of anyone making such a case (referring to the part I bolded).

2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

The only way the “secondary questions first”:group will be vindicated is if at some point God intervenes and declares the Church leaders are not living prophets of God. And that would be a pyrrhic victory at best, for where else is anyone going to turn to get such great and wonderfully comforting answers to life’s greatest questions? 

I'm not aware of a "secondary questions first" group.  

And, where to turn aside from the 15 men at the helm of this Church?  I think your statement here answers the question.  If these men who we claim as living prophets were not actually living prophets, we would expect the Holy Spirit to so indicate, right?  So the answer to your question, I believe, is the Holy Spirit.

2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

I’m fascinated to observe how long discussions on this topic go on and on in circles... 

And yet you jumped in with quite a post!  :)  I hope the interaction is beneficial.  When I feel I am no longer benefiting, I usually drop out of threads.

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11 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Why don't you think that's nuance and contextualizing? (Sincere question)

I just used it as an example though. I think the theology of fallible prophets, which I've brought up, is an other example.

I was discussing the struggle of being an active member but having dealt with some of the troubling aspects of the Church's narrative and truth claims through nuance and contextualizing which often causes other members to see my views as heretical.

You seemed to suggest that you haven't had such problems and gave the example of using the Documentary Hypothesis to support your orthodox views of Book of Mormon historicity.

I feel like we aren't even discussing the same thing.  However, your mention here of the theology of fallible prophets may be.

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39 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

His position on truth from the October conference, which everyone ignores because the rest of the talk was about gender. "Truth and the Plan".

Because of the device I am on at the moment I cannot provide the link. You may disagree with him but he knows his philosophy.

QUOTE:

"Modern revelation defines truth as a “knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:24). That is a perfect definition for the plan of salvation and “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.”
            We live in a time of greatly expanded and disseminated information. But not all of this information is true. We need to be cautious as we seek truth and choose sources for that search. We should not consider secular prominence or authority as qualified sources of truth. We should be cautious about relying on information or advice offered by entertainment stars, prominent athletes, or anonymous internet sources. Expertise in one field should not be taken as expertise on truth in other subjects.
            We should also be cautious about the motivation of the one who provides information. That is why the scriptures warn us against priestcraft (see 2 Nephi 26:29). If the source is anonymous or unknown, the information may also be suspect.
            Our personal decisions should be based on information from sources that are qualified on the subject and free from selfish motivations.
            
                
                    I.
                
                When we seek the truth about religion, we should use spiritual methods appropriate for that search: prayer, the witness of the Holy Ghost, and study of the scriptures and the words of modern prophets. I am always sad when I hear of one who reports a loss of religious faith because of secular teachings. Those who once had spiritual vision can suffer from self-inflicted spiritual blindness. As President Henry B. Eyring said, “Their problem does not lie in what they think they see; it lies in what they cannot yet see.”
                The methods of science lead us to what we call scientific truth. But “scientific truth” is not the whole of life. Those who do not learn “by study and also by faith” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118) limit their understanding of truth to what they can verify by scientific means. That puts artificial limits on their pursuit of truth.
                President James E. Faust said: “Those who have been [baptized] put their eternal soul at risk by carelessly pursuing only the secular source of learning. We believe that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the fulness of the gospel of Christ, which gospel is the essence of truth and eternal enlightenment.”
                We find true and enduring joy by coming to know and acting upon the truth about who we are, the meaning of mortal life, and where we are going when we die. Those truths cannot be learned by scientific or secular methods."

 

I think there is also a loss of religious faith because of using secular methods on religious themes, but he seems to mean that as well.

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26 minutes ago, alter idem said:

It's actually not, IMO, especially when it comes to the accusations and criticisms against the Church.  The writers may be different, but the arguments are the same, just recycled and republished

Would you provide examples of these arguments that you believe are the same?

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17 hours ago, Teancum said:

What are the limitations of science?

For example, the well-known limits of the scientific method have to do with how the method requires a hypothesis that is testable, falsifiable, and requires experiments and observations that are repeatable.  Science is limited in that there are certain things that it just can't prove.  From the How Stuff Works website:

"Science cannot prove or refute the existence of God or any other supernatural entity. Science is also incapable of making value judgments. It cannot say global warming is bad, for example. It can study the causes and effects of global warming and report on those results, but it cannot assert that driving SUVs is wrong or that people who haven't replaced their regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs are irresponsible. Occasionally, certain organizations use scientific data to advance their causes. This blurs the line between science and morality and encourages the creation of "pseudo-science," which tries to legitimize a product or idea with a claim that has not been subjected to rigorous testing."

There are things that are true that science is not capable of telling us.  That is why science, as wonderful and important as it is, is still limited.

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12 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

I think that gets at the key issue. What is orthodoxy?

That's easy, like doctrine, orthodoxy is what I say it is. 😛 But I get your point, most members I suppose feel like their own views most closely align with an "orthodox" position. It is hard to step outside that box we build. I do not think my own views are orthodox by the way. To steal an old phrase; I would say defining orthodoxy is like trying to nail Jell-O to a moving wall. I suspect you are trying to use the term in a more scholarly manner.

12 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

When discussed by Signature back in the 90's in Mormon Neo-Orthodoxy: A Crisis Theology, White included not only McConkie but also Chauncey Riddle and Hugh Nibley. Having taken rather intense classes from both Riddle and Nibley when I was at BYU and in particular getting to know Chauncey Riddle quite well and don't think my own views are that far from theirs. If anything I'm a bit of a hybrid. Clearly Riddle and Nibley disagreed on some things - he was quite conservative while Nibley was extremely liberal to being nearly a Marxist. Nibley was basically a platonism while Riddle was an existentialist - the exact opposite. I can't recall discussing evolution or things like that in Nibley's class, but I most certainly did in Riddle's class

This paragraph  is a great example of why I do not see you as orthodox. Were you to get up in my local Sunday School class and use this paragraph to describe why you are orthodox, I am pretty sure everyone there would get exactly the opposite idea. I am not saying your wrong or they would be, but that the discussion is happening on two different levels. Of course I could be way off on my views of what constitute orthodoxy but I am pretty sure that any attempt to nuance in the Documentary Hypothesis as a means to explain "Nephi's differences from the Old Testament and emphasizes Book of Mormon historicity" is unorthodox. But maybe we just live in widely different LDS environments. Of course if that is true, then obviously my ward is the orthodox one and you apostates in Provo need to be reigned in.

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14 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

Yes, David did think that Joseph had become a fallen prophet. But he never denied the his witness of seeing an angel that showed him the plates. He believed in the restoration but believed Joseph had gone astray, as noted in the excerpts that you quoted.

Glenn

Do you see a problem with relying on David Whitmer as a witness to the plates but rejecting him as a witness to Joseph as a fallen prophet? His witness of the BoM would support any of the hundreds of different expressions of the church that was started in 1830.

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11 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Do you see a problem with relying on David Whitmer as a witness to the plates but rejecting him as a witness to Joseph as a fallen prophet? His witness of the BoM would support any of the hundreds of different expressions of the church that was started in 1830.

Are the witnesses similar?  That's what I would consider.  A witness of the Spirit is different than a witness of a physical event (say, the visit of an angel, for example).  One is much harder to misunderstand as every having actually happened than the other one.

While we all sometimes think God has told us something that He likely hasn't, most of us don't have trouble knowing if we physically held an object, for example, or not.  One witness is not really the same as the other.

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I don't understand how David Whitmer's testimony of the BoM is such a big deal to determine if the church is true or not, because he may look at it much differently then we think he is. He may just think it's true as far as leading someone to Christ. But I wonder if he thinks it's historically true. 

https://historyofmormonism.com/mormon-history/two-church-centers/tcc-1835/david-whitmer-final-testimony/

“Unto all Nations, Kindreds, Tongues and People, unto whom these presents shall come: . . . I wish now, standing as it were, in the very sunset of life, and in the fear of God, once [and] for all to make this public statement: That I have never at any time denied that testimony [of the Book of Mormon] or any part thereof, which has so long since been published with that book, as one of the Three Witnesses. Those who know me best well know that I have always adhered to that testimony. And that no man may be misled or doubt my present views in regard to the same, I do again affirm the truth of all my statements as then made and published. “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear;” it was no delusion; what is written is written, and he that readeth let him understand. “And if any man doubt, should he not carefully and honestly read and understand the same before presuming to sit in judgment and condemning the light, which shineth in darkness, and showeth the way of eternal life as pointed out by the unerring hand of God?” In the Spirit of Christ, who hath said: “Follow thou me, for I am the life, the light and the way,” I submit this statement to the world; God in whom I trust being my judge as to the sincerity of my motives and the faith and hope that is in me of eternal life. My sincere desire is that the world may be benefited by this plain and simple statement of the truth. And all the honor to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen!”

Edited by Tacenda

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