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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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18 minutes ago, bluebell said:

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.

Whitmer quotes God in his An Address to all Believers in Christ when it comes to explaining why he left the early church.

Quote

 Then let no man judge hastily as to my authority, lest he judge wrongly and continue in error; but go to God in prayer and fasting, and find out the truth, for the Holy Ghost will guide you into all truth. If you believe my testimony to the Book of Mormon; if you believe that God spake to us three witnesses by his own voice from the heavens, and told me to “separate myself from among the Latter Day Saints, for as they sought to do unto me, should it be done unto them.” 

But of course, as I pointed out to Glenn,  then you are left with a witness who is only testifying about the BoM, not the restoration as we know it today. 

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36 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.

No problem at all. David reported that he had physically seen the plates, that they were shown to him by an angel. His belief that Joseph was a fallen prophet had to do with his own interpretations of some of the scriptures and the Book of Commandments. He also was opposed to the practice of polygamy. I hope that you can see the difference.

Glenn

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46 minutes ago, CA Steve said:

Whitmer quotes God in his An Address to all Believers in Christ when it comes to explaining why he left the early church.

But of course, as I pointed out to Glenn,  then you are left with a witness who is only testifying about the BoM, not the restoration as we know it today. 

We can also take into consideration whether or not there is corroborating evidence to back up assertiond.  Can anyone corroborate that David saw an angel and touched the plates?  If yes, then that's evidence in the event's favor.  If no, then no evidence to support it.  The same can be asked about his assertion that God told him to start a new church.  Is there corroboration by someone else?  That can help determine it's likelihood.

Like you said, David Whitmer's words don't prove anything and they don't speak to other claims of JS, but things can still strengthen or weaken the assertions that he made, depending on the evidence that corroborates them.  

 

 

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On 2/10/2019 at 10:53 PM, Glenn101 said:

i do not mind anyone disagreeing with the things I have to say. I do not recall you ever making anything personal in the different discussions we have had and I appreciate that.

There are a lot of things about the Bible, especially the Old Testament that I have questions about myself. Even when I was a youngster I had questions about the ark, i.e. the huge size that it would have taken to hold two of each of one kind or animal and seven of another kind. Then there is a chronology from the flood to the time when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedec was less than three hundred years but evidently there was a very sizable population on the earth again, including the Chaldean and Egyptian civilizations. So I do not know what to make of the flood  narrative. Those and others are "shelf questions" because there are no answers available.

I have had my own periods of doubts, but I have also had one really profound spiritual experience which actually turned my life around. It is something I cannot describe in words.

Maybe I can explain myself with a quote or example from the Book of Mormon. When Alma the Younger was preaching to the poor people among the Zoramites he told them "to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words." This is something that you spoke about in your first response to me. But yet, one has to be willing to believe, to want to believe, before it can happen. So, in a way, you are correct in your assessment. Of course there are stories of people having experiences that caused them to believe even when they did not want to, but this was after an initial conversion.

But, at this point in my life, all that does not matter. I have thought this through pretty well, and what comes next is pretty much emotional. When I was having my doubts I looked at this old world and what unbelief offered me. I looked at a world full of strife, war, and injustice. I looked at a world where whole peoples are killed in tribal warfare, where children are left alone to starve and no one is there to alleviate their suffering. I looked at those things and I wanted to believe, to have hope that there was and is hope for those people, for a justice that extends beyond this life. When my first wife died while I was in the middle of that faith crisis, I wanted to have hope that I would see her again, and to see my mother again who died a slow agonizing death while I tried to care for her. That was the point that started me on a downward faith spiral and bottomed out with the death of my first wife. It was not a pretty sight.

When I looked at all of those things, how really miserable I was, I decided that I wanted to believe. And yes, it was during that point of time that I had my defining spiritual experience. It turned my life around and has given me the hope that the injustices of this world will righted. Despite all of the questions, I have hope that they will a;; be answered in the Lord's own due time. I have faith and trust that whatever misgivings that I and anyone else may have about the next life, that what God has in store for us is something better than any mortal can imagine. It keeps me going despite all of the other physical and mental challenges in my life.

That is the emotional part. Now, back to a logical part. What if everything I believe is wrong? What if there is no God and no life after death? Am I a fool? Well, no, because no one will ever know. Not me, not, you, no one. Because I am on the whole in a maybe not happy place but a place filled with hope for now and forever. Only a person that has lost all hope and then found it again can fully understand that.

Glenn

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Glenn, I really agree with most of what you wrote.  In fact, I have very similar feelings when I was actively involved in the church.  I often said to myself, "even if the church wasn't true, I like the life that the church provides."  It was a great environment to raise my family in.   I am sure that if I wasn't gay and therefore had other reasons for leaving the church I would probably still be active in the church even though I had completely lost any kind of faith or belief that church leaders receive any special guidance from God.  It is why I support my kids that are still active in the church.  And I support the ones that have walked away from the church.  I think there are many involved in the church that feel like you do.  Maybe the church isn't what it claims to be.  So what.  It is still filled with good people trying to live good upstanding and faith-based lives.  That is a very solid reason for staying in the church.

But for some, the church has become a place that they find toxic to their lives and is actually detrimental to them.  I certainly feel that way.  I have gone back several times.  I just can't take the hostile gay attitudes,  And certainly the church's attitudes towards my partner.  Maybe I was just unlucky, but almost every time I have gone back to church, some snide remark was made about those being gay.  In fairness, the last few times I tried attending was around the time the Supreme Court ruling took place.  But just knowing that is how many members feel about me being gay and having someone in. my life that I love and completely share my life with was enough.  

Others have different issues.  We. have read about some in this forum.  When the church no longer enriches their lives, then the question of the truth of it all becomes the ONLY point in deciding whether to stay.  For many, the history and trust that has been broken makes it impossible to stay.  Telling the to not study the issues that are troubling or just stay on the good ship Zion or even inoculating them is not going to be enough if they don't find the church a safe place to be and they can't believe the claims of the Church being the one true church.  Too many holes. Too many leaps of faith for them.

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1 hour ago, california boy said:

Glenn, I really agree with most of what you wrote.  In fact, I have very similar feelings when I was actively involved in the church.  I often said to myself, "even if the church wasn't true, I like the life that the church provides."  It was a great environment to raise my family in.   I am sure that if I wasn't gay and therefore had other reasons for leaving the church I would probably still be active in the church even though I had completely lost any kind of faith or belief that church leaders receive any special guidance from God.  It is why I support my kids that are still active in the church.  And I support the ones that have walked away from the church.  I think there are many involved in the church that feel like you do.  Maybe the church isn't what it claims to be.  So what.  It is still filled with good people trying to live good upstanding and faith-based lives.  That is a very solid reason for staying in the church.

But for some, the church has become a place that they find toxic to their lives and is actually detrimental to them.  I certainly feel that way.  I have gone back several times.  I just can't take the hostile gay attitudes,  And certainly the church's attitudes towards my partner.  Maybe I was just unlucky, but almost every time I have gone back to church, some snide remark was made about those being gay.  In fairness, the last few times I tried attending was around the time the Supreme Court ruling took place.  But just knowing that is how many members feel about me being gay and having someone in. my life that I love and completely share my life with was enough.  

Others have different issues.  We. have read about some in this forum.  When the church no longer enriches their lives, then the question of the truth of it all becomes the ONLY point in deciding whether to stay.  For many, the history and trust that has been broken makes it impossible to stay.  Telling the to not study the issues that are troubling or just stay on the good ship Zion or even inoculating them is not going to be enough if they don't find the church a safe place to be and they can't believe the claims of the Church being the one true church.  Too many holes. Too many leaps of faith for them.

I know that I cannot really understand your situation. I do not believe that anyone that is not gay really understand. I do sympathize and I do not judge. That is for God to do. But I do trust Him, that He is just and he will deal righteously with all of us. I do really wish you all the best in this life and I know that the next life will be better for all of us. I wish that I could do more.

Glenn

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19 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

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

Glenn

I appreciate your comments and interaction.  Thank you for being kind and patient.  A few other thoughts.

In my opinion the burden of proof for fantastical supernatural claims, etc is on the one making the claims. Can I refute the claims of the Bible?  Of course not. But anyone can claim anything. I can claim right now that the God speaking to me is from the planet Kronos and is a Klingon and we all need to become a warrior race and our honor and salvation is based on that, and you now need to go pray to see if I am right.  How would you decide whether or not to pursue this?  Really the burden of proof should be on me.


As for the LDS Church and Jospeh, the truth claims of the LDS Church entirely rest on whether Smith was a prophet or not and whether his claims are true. Why should anyone give weight to his claims?  How can one decide whether it is worth their time and effort? It seems to me that is should be based on whether someone can trust him or not.  Otherwise why not give the same effort to any fantastic claims like I note above?

 

Last of all yes I had spiritual experiences that led me to believe the LDS truth claims were true and the Joseph was a prophet. But they were based on limited information and without full disclosure. Once I found the full disclosure on my own I had to re-evaluate those experiences in that light.

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12 minutes ago, Teancum said:

I can claim right now that the God speaking to me is from the planet Kronos and is a Klingon and we all need to become a warrior race and our honor and salvation is based on that, and you now need to go pray to see if I am right.  How would you decide whether or not to pursue this?  Really the burden of proof should be on me.

For me, the decision whether or not to pursue such a claim would be in the convincing power of the one sharing the claim. It would also be influenced by any prior experience that suggested common ground. It could also be influenced by sheer curiosity. So you definitely have a role to play, yes, but not the only one. And I wouldn't call it 'burden of proof' since you've just invited me to find out for myself. That's not about proof. It's about sharing a personal experience and encouraging another to try to replicate that experience.

Whether or not I find what you've shared convincing enough to try the experiment is up to me. Whether or not your God from Kronos then speaks to me is up to both Him/Her and me.

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2 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

For me, the decision whether or not to pursue such a claim would be in the convincing power of the one sharing the claim. It would also be influenced by any prior experience that suggested common ground. It could also be influenced by sheer curiosity. So you definitely have a role to play, yes, but not the only one. And I wouldn't call it 'burden of proof' since you've just invited me to find out for myself. That's not about proof. It's about sharing a personal experience and encouraging another to try to replicate that experience.

Whether or not I find what you've shared convincing enough to try the experiment is up to me. Whether or not your God from Kronos then speaks to me is up to both Him/Her and me.

Your point is apt.

For those of us who might not be convinced by the fantastic claims of Joseph Smith (or religion in general), there has to be a “hook.”  What that spark is that will convince someone to experiment and seek out their own witness will vary.

Is the LDS church good at this?  Do we make efforts to see different ways how the church can help an individual (to find an individual’s ‘hook’)?  Maybe not as well as we could... (debatable).

Is our messaging too focused on “Its true, we have the authority?”  I wonder if we’d be more effective at missionary work by thinking and speaking more broadly about why one should be interested in this faith.

Edited by SouthernMo

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6 hours ago, SouthernMo said:

Your point is apt.

For those of us who might not be convinced by the fantastic claims of Joseph Smith (or religion in general), there has to be a “hook.”  What that spark is that will convince someone to experiment and seek out their own witness will vary.

Is the LDS church good at this?  Do we make efforts to see different ways how the church can help an individual (to find an individual’s ‘hook’)?  Maybe not as well as we could... (debatable).

Is our messaging too focused on “Its true, we have the authority?”  I wonder if we’d be more effective at missionary work by thinking and speaking more broadly about why one should be interested in this faith.

I suggest that sequence is vital in spiritual searches.  The initial “hook” in that sequence should never be a church.  It should always be Diety.  There is an omniscient, omnipotent being who has invited each of us to receive wisdom.  To receive that wisdom we need to have faith in Deity, not faith in a church.

Seek and receive Divine guidance and allow that guidance to direct the subsequent search for a church, including deciding whether or not to stay in the church  of your youth.  After all, shouldn’t all churches and religions be pointing us to Deity.  And if God desires to impart wisdom, doesn’t logic dictate that such wisdom would include in which church we might best exercise the fruits of our faith in Deity?

My experience has been that those who commune with God receive as part of that communion a desire to act upon the charity instilled in their soul as a result of such communion.  That desire is more than sufficient for the second “hook”—to inspire the search for a church that will provide the most optimal environment for exercising charity.

 

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26 minutes ago, let’s roll said:

I suggest that sequence is vital in spiritual searches.  The initial “hook” in that sequence should never be a church.  It should always be Diety.  There is an omniscient, omnipotent being who has invited each of us to receive wisdom.  To receive that wisdom we need to have faith in Deity, not faith in a church.

I’m not sure about this.

Is it possible for someone (who sees no need for a relationship with god) to come to the church because friends are there (the hook), and and have a relationship with deity grow from there?

Are you saying this is wrong?  Maybe we shouldn’t invite non-members to ward picnics because we fear the hook is the food and church, and not an immediate communion with God?

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People can't sleep tonight or all you West Coast or beyond?

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4 minutes ago, Calm said:

People can't sleep tonight or all you West Coast or beyond?

I had a long nap this afternoon, so sleep is elusive at the moment.😴😴

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I had a longer than usual errand and driving a lot needed a boost today, so enjoyed a Pepsi...just takes forever to clear, sigh. 

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13 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

I’m not sure about this.

Is it possible for someone (who sees no need for a relationship with god) to come to the church because friends are there (the hook), and and have a relationship with deity grow from there?

Are you saying this is wrong?  Maybe we shouldn’t invite non-members to ward picnics because we fear the hook is the food and church, and not an immediate communion with God?

I trust that you understand that having non-members at church gives us an opportunity to demonstrate charity and that people come to church for any number of reasons.  All should be welcomed.

At the point that someone expresses a desire to engage in a spiritual search, or should we be prompted to invite them to do so, we should  point them to God.

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29 minutes ago, SouthernMo said:

Is it possible for someone (who sees no need for a relationship with god) to come to the church because friends are there (the hook), and and have a relationship with deity grow from there?

Probably half the people I taught as a full-time missionary who converted started off with just an intellectual curiosity. Most were definitely not looking for God and were quite surprised when they found Him (or He found them?).

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5 hours ago, let’s roll said:

I trust that you understand that having non-members at church gives us an opportunity to demonstrate charity and that people come to church for any number of reasons.  All should be welcomed.

At the point that someone expresses a desire to engage in a spiritual search, or should we be prompted to invite them to do so, we should  point them to God.

Sure. Agreed. But in this example, the ‘hook’ was not the relationship with god, but something far more simple and temporal.

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On 2/12/2019 at 5:21 PM, Teancum said:

As for the LDS Church and Jospeh, the truth claims of the LDS Church entirely rest on whether Smith was a prophet or not and whether his claims are true. Why should anyone give weight to his claims?  How can one decide whether it is worth their time and effort? It seems to me that is should be based on whether someone can trust him or not.  Otherwise why not give the same effort to any fantastic claims like I note above?

 

Last of all yes I had spiritual experiences that led me to believe the LDS truth claims were true and the Joseph was a prophet. But they were based on limited information and without full disclosure. Once I found the full disclosure on my own I had to re-evaluate those experiences in that light.

I don't put my trust in Joseph Smith for my belief in the truth claims of the LDS Church. I went through a few reasons earlier why I think that my belief in God, my faith is a rational faith, although in a way, they seem to almost be mutually exclusive terms. But a rational faith does not answer questions about the attributes of God. It could be the God of any of the extant religions are even a God that created this world, this universe then went on to other pursuits uncaring about his creations here. That is where the spiritual aspects, the spiritual communications come in. And that is where we have diverged. I still evaluate whatever information that comes down the pike in relation to the spiritual experiences in my life.

Glenn

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