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President Oaks' advice to young married couples in Chicago

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15 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

Perhaps, except the purpose is usually to demean them and to make them look like bad people.

For example, in this case Pres Oaks’ private instructions to a group of kids are mischaracterized to make him appear as an abusive monster screaming legalistic invective at cowering children. The truth is, that did not happen. But the meme has been created and the myth will be perpetuated.

In this case, he should be grateful there’s a recording to dispel the rumors or mischaracterization. 

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2 hours ago, JulieM said:

Well, I can speak from my actual own experience.

When I first learned about some events and details from church history, it caused me to really struggle.

What did my huaband do?

He did not put me down or make me feel like I was sinning or that I was doing something wrong.  He said, “I see how upset you are so let’s study church history together.”

And so we did research TOGETHER rather than him leaving me feeling like I had to hide what I was concerned about or feeling stupid for not knowing about history.  We grew closer and helped each other through it.

So, I think giving this kind of advice like President Oaks did, can really pull spouses further apart and could cause the struggling spouse to feel even more alone and in even more pain.

What a beautiful story.  Your husband sounds like a keeper. 

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5 hours ago, CV75 said:

Which approach from Elder Uchdorf are you talking about? That we wish those well who have come to a different end than what Elder Oaks is promoting? Both their sentiments and messages apply equally; they are not mutually exclusive.

Why is continued engagement with faith "a wrong direction to take for people struggling with it"? Is not it similar to our persisting to wish people well who come to the conclusion to drop certain points of faith?

https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/dieter-f-uchtdorf_can-you-hear-the-music/

I didn’t say they were mutually exclusive, only that I thought elements of the talk are very poor advice and missing the mark.  

Engagement with faith and intellect also don’t need to be mutually exclusive and I believe both are important.  I don’t think dropping certain points of faith is necessarily a complete departure from that category of experience.  I think that people often transform their faith into other symbols perhaps less traditionally labeled as religious.  I for example have been practicing mindfulness and good healthy eating and exercise and even exploring a sense of awe about the universe and I consider all these things to be compatible with spiritual practice.  

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5 hours ago, CV75 said:

Yes, perhaps it would be challenging but I would expect the same counsel, rather I would expect that i would apply the same counsel that always works in dealing with spiritual matters.

My default position is not so much that such-and-such is inspired by God and such-and-such isn't on a point-by-point basis, but that my initial witness of the Church and the Book or Mormon have not changed. That God allows bad things, or things I am uncomfortable with, and trials and tribulations to occur have not proven sufficient to change that witness. That they have deepened and expanded to include testimonies of other things is the result of far more than research alone, and I try not to perform any research devoid of any degree spiritual dimension, no matter how small.

I’m confused by this answer, you say you would apply the same counsel that always works on spiritual matters and I assume you mean praying for confirmation.  But then you say after that you don’t get into specific issues and rather exercise faith based on your overall witness of the church.  So if presented with a calling to practice polygamy would you pray about that specific issue or just trust in your overarching witness of the church?

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5 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

The nature of the experience will certainly determine how evidence gets interpreted. But typically if one believes one has had a clear revelation saying that the Book of Mormon is true entails beliefs about the consequences of being true. Those are themselves interpretations of course arising out of ones other beliefs and practices. In general though I think for most people its truth entails a degree of historicity and thus evidence that has to be judged along side missing evidences such as say metallurgy.

I'm not trying to prescribe a specific set of reasoning here. Just noting that these revelatory encounters with God and then faith in their validity will change how we interpret evidence. How could it not? I think Oaks is completely correct to point to these experiences as what ultimately determine the answers rather than evidence since those experiences shape how the evidence is interpreted.

It’s all based on the assumptions people start with.  For centuries Christians who believed the Bible to be true assumed that meant the earth was at the center of the universe.  That belief which was the dominant narrative for Christians everywhere is essentially extinct today yet Christianity is still incredibly relevant.  

I can envision a future where the dominant assumption about the BoM is that it’s not historical, yet Mormonism is still a thriving religion and many people would still believe in the truth of the BoM.  

5 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Sure. I'm a fallibilist. I think we can regularly be wrong about things.

But by the same measure I've thought I've seen things that upon closer inspection turned out to be false. I've misremembered things. I don't infer from that that I should disbelieve all I see or remember. That'd be functionally impossible.

I agree with this and have a similar perspective, the one difference being my operating default position of skepticism rather than trust, especially when it comes to theological claims as I see those as just speculation, and claims about historical events which church leaders have a horrible track record with when it comes to accurate and complex portrayals.  they generally like the faith promoting rumors instead.  

5 hours ago, clarkgoble said:

Sure. But since I don't foresee it happening I don't worry about it much.

I have an especially hard time not empathizing with those who practiced polygamy in my family tree and trying to reconcile what I would have done in their shoes.  It’s really just part of my makeup to  take these things more personal I guess and I’m not saying everyone needs to do the same as I do, but that’s part of why I think this episode in our history is so hard for me to justify.  

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4 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

Depends upon the type of persuasion. The main problem that I have observed in living and socializing in areas with different beliefs is that those of the other beliefs may not be very tolerant of LDS doctrines and their persuasion is often social pressure. There is nothing wrong with diversity as long as most of the diverse groups are tolerant of the viewpoints of others. That is something that President Oaks was referring to.

And here is his advice as to how best to deal with those situations:

How are people not tolerant of LDS doctrine?  Are people advocating laws to restrict LDS freedom, live prop 8?  Give me an example where LDS people are being persecuted for their beliefs in modern society?  

4 hours ago, Glenn101 said:

If a person is not well grounded in the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by those methods, he pr she will be the more easily swayed by secular arguments and social pressures.

This sounds awfully close to brain washing to me.  D&C 121 explicitly calls for persuasion as the primary mechanism of the Priesthood.  If secular arguments are persuasive perhaps it’s because they are oftentimes much better than the religious argument.  Truth should be the aim, not allegiance to aging dogma. Joseph said as much on multiple occasions.    

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4 hours ago, Teancum said:

It simply is more proof that the leaders of the LDS Church are in panic mode and doubling down on their authority and telling members not to critically think.

I think this is the beginning of the end of the LDS Church as we know it.

There is no doubt that they have shifted the strategy from pretending that a problem didn’t exist to trying to address the problem, especially with the younger generation.  I can only imagine what the attrition rates are like for young people that has leaders shifting tactics like this.  Only time will tell if the new strategy Oaks and others are promoting is effective.  I suspect it won’t because it’s so tone deaf to faith crisis concerns.  

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2 hours ago, teddyaware said:

When I read the several recent threads that speak to this recurrent theme, I don’t know whether to gently smile and shake my head or throw up my hands in utter exasperation. It amazes me that as many times as the leaders of the Church try to patiently explain that the only effective way to deal with doubts and faith crises is to apply the revelatory method of Moroni’s challenge, not just to determine the divine authenticity Book of Mormon but to gain inspired answers to every other doctrinal and/or administrative issue that might present challenges to one’s testimony, but they still don’t get it.

In essence, what President Oaks is saying is that the only way to gain a deeply rooted and unconquerable knowledge of the truthfulness of the restored gospel is for each member to do what’s necessary to become a prophet of God in his or her own right. President Oaks and the other leaders are attempting to help the members to understand that the only way to successfully wade through the seemingly endless morass of faith challenging questions is to go straight to the Source of all knowledge, even God, and receive from Him personal revelation that will powerfully confirm the restored gospel is true and the many prophecies of its ultimate glorious triumph will all be fulfilled. 

Yet as many times as this sound prophetic counsel is given there are always those who will, once again, reject the sage counsel while insisting it’s the prophets who don’t get it. But at the risk of raising winds of ill will, I will say that those who refuse to accept and apply the counsel of President Oaks, and the similar counsel given by several other Church leaders, are going to wake up one morning twenty years from now still complaining that the leaders haven’t given satisfactory answers to the secondary questions, and still wondering why they’re plagued by legions of raging doubts.

What these church leaders don’t get and it sounds like you don’t either because you are echoing their approach, is that this advice rings so completely tone deaf to people going through faith crisis is that it comes across as completely inauthentic and insulting.  

To suggest that people who’ve dedicated theirs lives to church service and made a commitment and sacrifice on the level that faithful Mormonism inspires, have suddenly abandoned prayer and forgotten the primary taught basics is so far off the mark that promulgating this formula can actually have a backfire effect. 

Read some of the thoughtful approaches recommended by Patrick Mason or the Givens or Bushman or anyone who’s actually spent time interacting with and engaging in the trenches with people struggling in this area.  The advice they give is leaps and bounds better than what Oaks is prescribing.  

The approach recommended in this talk is either clueless or intentionally a fear tactic to try and get people who aren’t struggling yet to avoid asking any probing questions.  But they don’t understand human psychology very well because the forbidden fruit becomes more enticing when someone in authority tells you to avoid it like the plague.  So go ahead with the don’t research mantra, it will likely only lead to more disaffection.  

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9 hours ago, hope_for_things said:

Here is the whopper of a section.  [Sentence removed. Disagree with church leaders respectfully.] This runs counter to previously given advice and common sense.  Think of this in light of the famous quote from J. Reuben Clark, "If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed."  What do you think? 

I have to wonder...you are basing your harsh conclusion on one quoted fragment of a complete sentence. There is a comma right after, obviously there was more to the statement. You should note that the next sentence is the reporter's summary of what else was said. Certainly, even one word could change the context. I really wouldn't go this far without having a complete transcript of the advice, not just a news story about it. Based on his previous talks, I will bet there is more than just that part that was quoted. Not knowing what else was said along with that, I wouldn't pass such judgment. 

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2 hours ago, blueglass said:

Here are a few suggestions on how deal with these issues over the last few years.  

1)  Don't study church history too little!  “I would offer you the advice of our Assistant Church Historian, Rick Turley, an intellectually gifted researcher and author, whose recent works include the definitive history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He says simply: ‘Don’t study Church history too little.’  sept 2013, Elder Christofferson  https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-christofferson-gives-compelling-counsel-to-study-the-life-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng

2) Give Brother Joseph a break!  "For example, questions concerning the Prophet Joseph Smith are not new. They have been hurled by his critics since this work began. To those of faith who, looking through the colored glasses of the 21st century, honestly question events or statements of the Prophet Joseph from nearly 200 years ago, may I share some friendly advice: For now, give Brother Joseph a break!"  Oct 2015 Elder Anderson   https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/faith-is-not-by-chance-but-by-choice?lang=eng

3)  research is not the answer!   Matters of Church history and doctrinal issues have led some spouses to inactivity. Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues.  “I suggest that research is not the answer,"  https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-christofferson-gives-compelling-counsel-to-study-the-life-of-joseph-smith?lang=eng

4)  Stop playing Church history whack-a-mole!     https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-and-sister-renlund-tell-young-adults-to-let-faith-not-doubt-drive-questions?lang=eng

Advice is all over the map.  Clearly some are advising out of fear and ignorance, while others who’ve worked with people going through crisis and have sought to understand the challenges of these complex issues are more charitable and understanding. 

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6 minutes ago, Kate said:

I have to wonder...you are basing your harsh conclusion on one quoted fragment of a complete sentence. There is a comma right after, obviously there was more to the statement. You should note that the next sentence is the reporter's summary of what else was said. Certainly, even one word could change the context. I really wouldn't go this far without having a complete transcript of the advice, not just a news story about it. Based on his previous talks, I will bet there is more than just that part that was quoted. Not knowing what else was said along with that, I wouldn't pass such judgment. 

Do you have a copy of the transcript?  If the reporter was taking him out of context then someone should write the church news so that this can be corrected and the proper context of the message can be shared.  

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He acknowledged that some Latter-Saint couples face conflicts over important values and priorities. Matters of Church history and doctrinal issues have led some spouses to inactivity. Some spouses wonder how to best go about researching and responding to such issues.

“I suggest that research is not the answer,” he said.

The Church does offer answers to many familiar questions through its Gospel Topics Essays found at lds.org.

“But the best answer to any question that threatens faith is to work to increase faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Conversion to the Lord precedes conversion to the Church. And conversion to the Lord comes through prayer and study and service, furthered by loving patience on the part of spouse and other concerned family members.”

I guess we all read things differently.  I see nothing wrong with what he said.  He did not say research was not good. He did not say that research is never an answer to a problem.   He simply said that research was not the best answer to a specific situation in this case an issue regarding history and doctrine.   He then explains what he means by saying the best answer is to increase faith in Christ.  I view this under the principal of that has been stated before in the church of "Good, better, and best".  The "best" is increasing faith through conversion.  A lesser but still good way to to resolve these issues is research.  He included research when he says "through prayer and study and service."  Study includes research.   Research is great but there are limitations to it.   Especially when it comes to church history issues as we don't have a perfect record or understanding of events in church history.  All we have are records by individuals concerning an event and the rest we personally fill in the blanks by what we think happened but what we fill in might be way off target. 

So research is good or better when it comes to doctrinal and history issues.  But the best is always a testimony by the spirit.  Research can never replace revelation.  That is what Jesus told Peter when Peter told Jesus that he was the son of God.  Jesus praised Peter that he came to know who Jesus was not be research but by revelation.

 

 

Edited by carbon dioxide
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3 hours ago, JulieM said:

In this case, he should be grateful there’s a recording to dispel the rumors or mischaracterization. 

Just lucky, I guess. Even, so the meme has been created and will persist. Most people won’t make the effort to “research” the truth. Instead they’ll go with their first impression.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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6 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Wow! Thanks for answering the CFR. It’s even worse than I thought. That is awful! Such a huge overreaction to a bunch of deacons going off course a little bit. Oh, the legalistic anger! I can just hear his bullying and scolding tone! The condemnation!  I can hardly bear it. You said young men, but he said young men and women? They’ll never ever recover. 🥴

Does his doctrinal teaching connecting baptism and sacrament upset you, his correction of an innocent erroneous practice, or is it the presumptive anger in his voice? The anger doesn’t come through in the written form.

I still have a huge problem with members who surreptitiously record Church authorities and then use the recording to demean them. Like captioning the instruction, “Crocodile man comes to youth group and screams about how left hands are evil.” That’s a disgusting distortion of what happened. 

Having listened to the tape, I hear nothing but a humble loving correction and explanation for the correction.  “God bless you,” he says at the end. Crivens. 

 

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/legalistic

strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.

Can I just get a straight answer, it was not my intention to make him look like a monster, it was my way of bringing this up to see if this really is how it is supposed to be, because I swear that there was this conversation on this board about not really having to use the right hand to take the Sacrament.

But I can be guilty of continually being disappointed in what Pres. Oaks does and says, I miss Elder Uchtdorf's approach, I miss the spirit I've felt with his talks. I don't feel that with Oaks at all. And I don't have the capability of starting threads, so I sometimes insert things in other's topics, where I know I probably shouldn't.

Edited by Tacenda

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1 hour ago, hope_for_things said:

Do you have a copy of the transcript?  If the reporter was taking him out of context then someone should write the church news so that this can be corrected and the proper context of the message can be shared.  

I'm not saying the reported took him out of context, it could have happened inadvertently, I'm saying that you charged forward on this without even knowing the whole quote...just a mere fragment.

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34 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

 

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/legalistic

strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit.

Can I just get a straight answer, it was not my intention to make him look like a monster, it was my way of bringing this up to see if this really is how it is supposed to be, because I swear that there was this conversation on this board about not really having to use the right hand to take the Sacrament.

But I can be guilty of continually being disappointed in what Pres. Oaks does and says, I miss Elder Uchtdorf's approach, I miss the spirit I've felt with his talks. I don't feel that with Oaks at all. And I don't have the capability of starting threads, so I sometimes insert things in other's topics, where I know I probably shouldn't.

I apologize for criticizing you personally. 

I do not see his instructions to the Deacons as harsh or legalistic. 

When I tuned into the YouTube recording, this was the caption:

Quote

Crocodile man comes to youth group and screams about how left hands are evil.”

What do you thing of that description?

Reading the comments, I’m dismayed at the ridicule heaped on an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. What do yoy think of their words?

Edited by Bernard Gui

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12 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

I apologize for criticizing you personally. 

I do not see his instructions to the Deacons as harsh or legalistic. 

When I tuned into the YouTube recording, this was the caption:

What do you thing of that description?

Reading the comments, I’m dismayed at the ridicule heaped on an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. What do yoy think of their words?

I haven’t listened to the recording, but was he really angry about this?  Did he raise his voice or scream?

That seems ridiculous.  

Why are people claiming he did this?

Edited by JulieM

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7 minutes ago, JulieM said:

I haven’t listened to the recording, but was he really angry about this?  Did he raise his voice or scream?

That seems ridiculous.  

Why are people claiming he did this?

No, and there is a youtube on this thread with the recording. It is a lot of hoopla for no reason. 

19 minutes ago, Bernard Gui said:

I apologize for criticizing you personally. 

I do not see his instructions to the Deacons as harsh or legalistic. 

When I tuned into the YouTube recording, this was the caption:

What do you thing of that description?

Reading the comments, I’m dismayed at the ridicule heaped on an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church. What do yoy think of their words?

Thanks Bernard, and I apologize for jumping all over the long ago leader's mistakes and bringing up what I did about the polygamists and sexual abuse in the communities. I've been watching Netflix and the current news and reading about a lot of abuses by members of the church and the FLDS and other groups, so I get all worked up, and react badly. And I need to remember that as a TBM, it would have hurt to read so many disparaging remarks and read memes about the apostles. I need to take a break from either this board or the reddit board. Or both. But this is my home. I just need to tone it down and have respect. 

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26 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I get all worked up, and react badly.

It's probably not my place, but have you ever considered that you may be attracted to controversy and outrage? I think it sounds exhausting. Hope you're well!

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18 minutes ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

It's probably not my place, but have you ever considered that you may be attracted to controversy and outrage? I think it sounds exhausting. Hope you're well!

No, I'm the least drama queen you'll ever meet. I'm just one that can't stand to see people hurt in the name of God or see anyone hurt for that matter. There is so much sexual abuse that I want to cry out in hopes that it will bring it all out of the dark corners and be exposed so that people will not be afraid to speak out against those that did the harm. I was a victim, but not as severe as so many out there.

I am addicted to sitting and reading discussion boards and listening to podcasts. I often think of my MIL telling me a long time ago that she gave up decorating cakes because her family had sugar diabetes that ran high. She was an amazing cake decorator. I think of how she gave up her love of that because she didn't want her family getting the disease. And I can't even give up my diet dr. pepper, or my addiction to podcasts or the discussion boards that all center around Mormonism. But that addiction to all things Mormon didn't occur until after my faith crisis. I had no clue back then who the FLDS were. I was unaware of the bad things in Mormonism and had a rosy picture of so much. But this is a strange phenonomen that occurs to several of us that lose our faith or find out things that were never told to them. 

Hope you're well too Hamba!

 

 

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President Oaks advice to just tell a questioning child:  "I don't know but I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet", rings hollow to me.

I've talked to several questioning teens as a YM leader and a parent.

Teen:  Why did Joseph Smith write such differing accounts about something as profound as meeting God?
Answer:  I don't know, but I know he was a prophet.

Teen:  Why did Joseph marry so many women and why did he marry women who were already married to other men?
Answer:  I don't know, but I know he was a prophet.

I don't think kind of a response helps.  At all.

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3 hours ago, JulieM said:

I haven’t listened to the recording, but was he really angry about this?  Did he raise his voice or scream?

That seems ridiculous.  

Why are people claiming he did this?

No, he was not angry. Nor did he raise his voice or scream or anything approaching anger.

He described what he had observed them doing, corrected them, and explained why it should be done differently.

A non-issue dishonestly mischaracterized in order to discredit and demonize President Oaks.

Edited by Bernard Gui
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Your generation has grown up with an avalanche of information about the history of the Church that is new to many and concerning to some

The fact that Oaks classified the information as new is evidence that the Church has not been as forthcoming with that information as some would like to believe.

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8 hours ago, rockpond said:

President Oaks advice to just tell a questioning child:  "I don't know but I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet", rings hollow to me.

I've talked to several questioning teens as a YM leader and a parent.

Teen:  Why did Joseph Smith write such differing accounts about something as profound as meeting God?
Answer:  I don't know, but I know he was a prophet.

Teen:  Why did Joseph marry so many women and why did he marry women who were already married to other men?
Answer:  I don't know, but I know he was a prophet.

I don't think kind of a response helps.  At all.

Actually saying "I don't know" is probably a better answer than giving a really bad answer.  Some questions simply can't be known.  We can answer the question of why Joseph married so many women as that what could happen if one practices polygamy.  Polygamy can be defended in the scriptures.  What is hard to know is why he married some women who were married to other men.  That answer is not knowable.  We can make guesses but that is all they are.  I suppose if I was to travel back into time and asked Joseph and the women in question why they did it, they most likely would give me an answer that makes sense and is satisfying.  Since I lack a DeLorean, I can't do this and I can just brainstorm reasons.  That is all critics can do as well.  Brainstorm and think up the most negative reasons and use those as excuses.  So on this point is more of a faith thing.  I have faith that when I die and speak to Joseph on the issue, he will explain it all in a manner that makes sense.  I also have faith that those who are critical of Joseph regarding the issue will have to offer a big apology to Joseph for being critical regarding an issue they did not understand and had little right and position to judge based on the level of facts we have now.

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